10 Things Every Dad-To-Be And New Dad Needs To Know

28/05/2012 11:08 | Updated 22 May 2015
10 Things Every New Dad and Dad-To-Be Needs To Know


Dads take centre stage on TV this week with two shows that shine a light on reluctant dads and the trials and tribulations of becoming a father for the first time.

Daddy Daycare (C4, Weds 8pm) and A Dad Is Born (BBC2, Thurs 9pm) show how men cope with little 'uns.

In the three-part Daddy Daycare, nine men are sent on a crash course in parenting, working in three busy nurseries, volunteered by their wives and partners, many of them frustrated that their men are not pulling their weight looking after the kids.

The men - who've hardly changed a nappy between them - will be thrown in at the deep end. For the first time in their lives, they'll tackle every aspect of childcare under the watchful eyes of the nursery staff.

From feeding to nappy changing, and from nap time to play time, each programme will follow three men as they try to cope with looking after dozens of kids in a busy nursery.

Some are already dads, but some are facing - and dreading - fatherhood for the first time.

The show is bound to cause a stir as it was pulled from the schedules in August last year because of fears it could be accused of exploiting children.

In A Dad Is Born, award-winning film-maker Kira Phillips follows three men in the weeks before and after the big day.

She watches the struggle to become new men, the drama of birth and joins them on the steep learning curve of paternity leave.

Jamie, a city HR worker, attacks the prospect of parenthood by reading every self-help guide he can, but nothing he finds inside the pages of a book quite prepares him for his new life.

Mini-cab driver Viktor has resolved to put a history of womanising behind him and become the perfect family man.

And for multi-millionaire trader Greg, who left his wife and baby son, his girlfriend's pregnancy offers a second chance to be the dad he wants to be.

10 things every new dad and dad-to-be needs to knowAlamy
So if you're a dad-to-be or have just become a father - or you're the partner of one and are worried about how he's going to cope - how can dad prepare himself for the challenges and - let's face it - horrors that lie ahead?

Dean Beaumont, founder and owner of Daddy Natal and Baby Natal - Britain's only male-focused support and education service for expectant and new dads - offers this 10-point guide.

Good luck fellas! You're going to need it...

1. Prepare for labour

Believe it or not we can affect the labour! Adrenalin in a labouring woman's body can cause labour to slow down and stall. Women in labour have heightened senses and if they pick up on any worries/anxieties/uncertainty from us during labour it can trigger an adrenalin release in her.... SO make sure you are prepared, and have a positive impact on the labour.

2. Birth preferences

One of your key roles during the birth of your child is to speak up on behalf of your partner. To do this you need to understand what their preferences are, so make sure you sit down as a couple and discuss, and even write out what those preferences are. We have an in-built "fix-it reflex" as men, so by understanding the preferences beforehand you will not be tempted to interfere and do something she doesn't want.

3. It ain't over 'til its over!

You baby has just entered the world, congratulations. Butdon't be in a hurry to rush off and tell the world, we still have the third stage of labour yet! Yes really, baby being born isn't the end. Take time to spend those first precious moments alone together as a family, you can't get them back again. Plenty of time for announcements later! Ok, your baby is here so now what?

4. Emotions!

Yes we do have them and get ready as you will feel just about every one of them in those first minutes, hours and days. Such a clichéd term but you will be on an emotional rollercoaster. You may feel a sense of love the likes of which you never knew existed...or you may not. A lot of dads don't actually start to feel bonded with their baby until after the baby has been born, so don't panic if you don't have this overwhelming feeling, it will come in time. You may start to notice worries and concerns about supporting your family, being a good dad and so on. These are all normal so don't be surprised.

5. Visitors

Always a tricky one. My personal recommendation is always this, keep them to an absolute minimum in the first week, this is time for you to all get to know each other. For most of us we will be back to work in no time at all so make the most of this time for just you. If you must have visitors give them things to do, if they want to come then they bring you all dinner! Make it clear you are not going to wait on them, you want to spend time with your family not being the dutiful host to visitors. Lastly make sure they arrange their visit and ring just before hand to check still ok.

6. Sleep (or lack of!)

It doesn't matter how little sleep we think we can survive on, none of us are truly ready for the sleep deprivation of a new parent. The biggest thing you can learn is the art of the powernap, this is such a valuable tool for you both to learn. Power napping can leave you feeling refreshed, but the key to it is never sleep more than 30 minutes when napping. If you do, you enter different sleep cycle and will wake feeling groggy rather than refreshed unless it is a full sleep.

7. POO!

Yes after a few days you baby will start to bless you with their gifts. I don't think any of us are truly prepared for the sheer amount a baby can produce, especially when they are just drinking milk! The colours it will go through is also fun, so be aware of the colour changes they should go through. You have yellows, greens, blacks all to look forward to before they settle down.

8. Handling your baby

For many of us, holding our baby for the first time can also feel pretty daunting. We are scared we will break these tiny little people. Trust your instinct and you will be fine, remember in the early days to always support the head and neck and all will be OK.

9. Changing your baby

This is a different skill for girls and boys - when changing you little boy be prepared to be pee'd on! When changing your little girl always remember to wipe front to back, never the other way.

10. Baby Blues

Baby blues occur normally in the first 14 days after the birth of your child. They are due to the hormonal changes taking place in your partner and will last from few minutes to maybe couple of days perhaps making her seem a little more tearful than usual. It is estimated 50 per cent of women will suffer baby blues so it is something you should expect to happen, just make sure you support your partner and reassure her that you are there for her.

For more information about Daddy Natal and Baby Natal, click here.

How did you find the first few weeks as a new dad? Any tales or tips to share?


Suggest a correction