You’ve done it! You are in your first week of being a Dad! Congrats Man.
You’ve prepped for being a father, and now you are one!
After the roller-coaster of emotions and after 9 months of navigating your way past a full-on hormonal pregnant monster (no offense), you are now on easy street, my friend!
Of course, I am joking. Let’s take two minutes to remember your former life.
Now you are a Dad. Your wet wiped filled life is now dedicated to bringing up a child. Barring any medical issues, you are now at home with your child.
What happens next?
Help Me! I’ve Got This New Baby, And I Don’t Know What To Do!
Chill out! It’s a piece of cake, honest.
This is how my Son spent his first week at home:
- 70% – Sleeping.
- 10% – Eating.
- 10% – Being Changed.
- 8% – Crying because he is hungry or needs changing.
- 2% – Crying for no apparent reason. Maybe my face scared him. We will never know.
Here are some tips to get you through the 1st week of being a Dad
1. Chill Out, Man
Babies are pretty useless. They can’t walk, talk, fix stuff, or cook your dinner.
They do, however, know how to read emotions.
When you are stressed, they pick up on it. A normal functioning human being will take it easy on you until you are back out of your stress zone. A normal functioning human being will help to guide you back to a better place for the sake of your sanity and your health.
A baby is not a normal functioning human being. No sir, not at ALL.
They are hell-bent on making it worse. Not because they are evil, you understand. They don’t really know what is going on and may find themselves a little scared of stressed Dad.
Take it easy! There is a saying, and that is ‘Pretend Until You Are.’ That is easier said than done, but you must pretend to be an oasis of calm.
When the baby is asleep, you can stress as much as you want. QUIETLY.
2. Know Where Stuff Is
This has been a big-time stress trigger in my house. It still is.
Get to know where the following things are:
I am serious here. Buy as many packets of wet wipes as you can. Scatter them around the house.
Wherever you are in the house, you must always be within 2 meters of a packet of wet wipes.
Take this advice, and repeat for a (currently unspecified) number of years.
Repeat the process above.
My wife likes to keep things clean. I like to keep things within reach for an emergency.
At first, they were kept upstairs. We soon realized, in the event of a mass evacuation of bowels, it would be easier if we didn’t have to carry him up the stairs to grab one! The result would be much, MUCH more washing.
I am talking about the kid here. Whether they are breastfed, bottle-fed with formula, or bottle-fed with breast milk. Know where they all are!
I am going to assume you know where the breasts are. They don’t belong to you at the moment, though, remember that.
3. Prep For Feeding Times
If your baby is formula-fed, not only will you need to know where everything is, you must also be prepared for a quick formula shake-up, especially at 3 am.
Instead of waking you up with a calming gurgle, you are likely to be woken up by an ear-piercing scream, as if something terrible has happened.
They are probably hungry. Get the bottle ready and get them fed before you wake the whole street up.
PS – A little tip from a Dad, when they wake up hungry (at night), change them before feeding. They will go back to sleep much easier when you have finished winding them. If you do it the other way around, they might stay awake thinking it is playtime!
4. Use The Downtime Wisely
Your first week will be the week where your sleep pattern is totally broken. Not only will you be up every 3 to 4 hours because they are hungry, but you will also stay awake worrying that they are OK (if you are like me!).
Just quickly, if you do struggle with sleeping because you are constantly worried about them, use a baby monitor with a sensor pad. I cannot tell you how much reassurance this gave me! Knowing that I would be alerted to any issues resulted in better quality sleep for me!
Use the time during the day wisely. When they hit the hay, you get your head down….all of you.
You may not get the full 8 hours straight sleep anymore, but you can easily make up the numbers with a few cat naps during the day.
This brings me neatly onto the next tip…..
5. Plan A Visitor Roster
Everyone you know will want to come and look at your new baby as soon as you are at home.
Hopefully, if they have a bit of respect, they will contact you and ask for the best time to visit.
Set out when you are happy with receiving visitors (as long as they bring gifts!). When it’s not the time for visitors, turn off your doorbell, and hibernate.
Luckily, I had some time away from work…which I had to extend due to the childbirth issues we had!
The result of my time off was that I could take on a lot more tasks, especially overnight.
Due to the level of destruction my wife’s body had to go through, I felt it was only right that I got up for every night feed, so I did. It didn’t stop her from getting up, too, despite me suggesting otherwise!
Sharing the tasks and working as a team made the first week at home much easier. Make a plan before you go to bed, so you know which of you will get up for each feed.
During the day, do the same.
7. Take Loads Of Photos
The first 2 weeks of your baby’s life is the time when you need to take ‘newborn’ photos. After 2 weeks, they will grow out of this phase.
Make sure you take enough photos during this time, for two reasons:
It is obvious, but you will want to remember them when they are this small. Take as many as you can.
Thank You Cards
New births often mean a truckload of gifts! Use some of the photographs you have taken to create some thank-you cards for those who have taken the trouble to buy your new child (or you!) a gift.
If you have a bit of spare cash on the hip, why don’t you book some time with a photographer? It seems most people know someone who is ‘into photography,’ so hook up with them, see if they are up for taking some shots of you all.
8. Fire Up Your Streaming Service
I mentioned this in my new Dad survival kit post because if you do not sleep when they do, it is the perfect opportunity to load up Amazon, Netflix….whatever your preference is!
My wife and I managed to get through quite a few movies during the first two weeks of our Son being at home. Who needs sleep anyway?
If you can, try to pick out some decent TV shows….or a small selection of movies before the first week so you can load them up and tick them off one by one.
PS – Fresh air is good for you, so make sure you spend a bit of time outside the house too!
9. Order Some Flowers
C’mon, she has been through a lot, and now is the time to give her a bit of a treat…..if flowers are her thing, that is!
You can order flowers to turn up on the same day if you get on the website quickly.
A bouquet goes a long way in making them feel better, and it is a small price to pay after they sacrificed their body to squeeze a baby out.
Plus – when the flowers arrive, it is the perfect time to pick a movie YOU want to see because the chances of conflict are much lower. Take advantage, guys.
10. Keep An Eye On Each Other
OK, this one is much more serious than the rest and is clearly THE MOST IMPORTANT tip on this page.
Fella’s – You need to get to know the symptoms of postpartum depression.
Soon after giving birth (and for about 6 weeks after), a Woman’s body will start to return to a normal, non-pregnant state. That means a huge drop in hormone levels! Add that to sleep deprivation and added stress, and it can lead to a perfect storm for depression.
The Baby blues are prevalent in early parenthood.
It is definitely worth reading this entire post about the early warning signs so you can get used to them and keep an eye on making sure everything is cool.
If you do notice something and it concerns you, please speak to your partner or a Doctor.
Better to be safe than sorry.
The same goes for us guys, too (without the huge change in hormone levels!). Additional stress, sleep deprivation, and increased self-expectancy can trigger a depressive state.
The moral here is that you need to watch out for each other. Keep an eye out and notice any difference in behavior that may indicate the start of a problem. Then deal with it.
If you are now in the first week of Fatherhood and you have just got them home, congratulations. Now your time as a Dad begins!
It is not all bad, it is not all tiring, and this is the start of an awesome time of your life.
I hope these 10 tips will help you through your first week as a new Dad. They certainly made my first week easier!
Can you think of anything else you need for your first week as a Father? If you can, let me know by leaving a reply below.
Enjoy your first week, and keep an eye on each other!