Daddy A-Z of First-Time Fatherhood
Anxiety When you are taking a new baby back home after the hospital, the anxiety levels don’t get much higher. You worry about the wind, the sun, the rain, is the car seat in right, what speed do you go, how do you control your road rage!? It is a world of worry! Bottles I remember the midwife looking at me strangely when I took out the 220ml bottles “getting ready” for the first feed. “Em… you can put them away for a few months dear!!”, she says with smirk! When she took out the little bottles to bolster the breastfeed I couldn’t believe how small they were. For a guy who studied biology in University you would think I’d get that a baby’s stomach is a bit smaller than mine! (She’s over a year now and still doesn’t take 220ml! Ha) Car Seats Oh, Sweet Lord, there are SOOOOO many to choose from, Seat Beat, Isofix, Graco… the list goes on! Funnily enough, I got one with both Seat Beat and Isofix after the first baby carrier and it was a mini prison. Trust me, the videos/the shop assistants are not your friends. None of them help! In fact, they make it worse! Driving Driving with a crying baby in the back of the car when you are alone is one of the most soul-destroying things that you can do (and it also very dangerous!). I remember going to pick my wife up and the baby had a full-scale meltdown. She cried… I cried… my wife got into the car and she cried. Oh, the stress… just thinking about it stresses me out! Ecstasy The joy of having a baby is immense. It comes along with a rush of other emotions but it is pure bliss. Right after my wife gave birth and was heading down to the recovery room, this lovely nurse handed me this little person and put me in a room and for 40 minutes - I could not have been happier (or more afraid of figuring out what the hell to do if this little person cries!). Flying I used to love flying and would be on a plane once or twice a month. Now that the milk bottles, the food, the buggy and the nappies are viewed as threats to national security I’ve decided to give it a miss as often as I can! The heartbreak of a crying baby on the plane is another stress you just don’t need… my wife is heading back to China with Jade next week and my prayers are with her. https://www.notjustaprincessworld.com/blog/top-10-tips-for-flying-with-toddlers/ Guilt As parents, we have all felt it – am I doing enough, am I good enough, has she eaten enough?!! Then we go to work, or out to dinner and feel like we have completely abandoned them… don’t get me started about how it feels when she falls! https://www.notjustaprincessworld.com/blog/5-ways-to-prevent-parent-guilt/ Hugs Getting hugs from a child is blissful. The moment that a child has the clarity of thought that they want to wrap their arms arm you and give you a squeeze will 100% make your heart melt. There is no feeling like it. It is EVEN better than the finger grab of a baby! Controversial, I know, but it is true! Ice-cream We were told that our baby was tongue tied by a health nurse (a fact that caused many tears from a new mother; the nurse dropped that bomb, no explanation just a letter to see a consultant, it wasn’t a nice day!) so seeing Jade tackle ice-cream was hilarious… her tongue seemed to extend a full inch as she tried to get every drop off her face! Juggling Work, Exercise, spending time with my wife, visiting people that “need” to be visited, meetings, catch ups and trying to have some time alone. Well, you can’t do it all, so just try to get in as much as you can. Juggle everything so that you are getting a good balance between everything you must do… it won’t be balanced but hey, you have to complain about SOMETHING! Kisses I’m not sure about other kids but my daughter gives the messiest of kisses you can image. The sheer amount of saliva is unreal and she's even learned my over-exaggerated MWAH. When she learned to blow a kiss, and saw the reaction that she was getting, it was non-stop MWAH MWAH MWAH! Lime Watching kids munch on a lime… I don’t think I need to say anything more! hahaha Money Sometimes I feel that I might as well just burn my cards. The expenses that go with having a child and me being unprepared means I haemorrhage cash. I have left my house with nothing on occasion and ended up buying nappies (no worries they’ll get used), clothes (she's soiled the other one so bad I binned it), a soother (because she was crying) and then one time, I actually had to buy another bottle! Nappies/diapers Practice well before the baby gets home! It looks easy, but without practice you have a grenade with the pin out! An ill-timed shart can spray up the back very, very easily; they don’t even have to wriggle up to move it along - it almost moves by osmosis I reckon! And the sticky straps… it was 3 months in before I was shown the guidelines. Granny nearly cut of circulation whereas my ‘Loosey Goosey attitude’ had the nappy effectively cause a greeny/yellow water feature. Don’t even get me started on pull ups! https://www.notjustaprincessworld.com/blog/oh-the-nappies/ Overprotective When your baby comes home you sterilise everything, you wash everything, you have antiseptic wipes, you demand people wash their hands, you ban anyone with the slightest sniffle and you ALSO get lots of grief from people who tell you that you are too overprotective and “wait till you have another baby”. Well, I might be overprotective but she's my princess and if you do give her something that makes her sick YOU will NEVER hear the end of it! So, suck it up! Eventually you'll see them liking the floor.. they'll be fine! Poo Get used to talking about the colour, the amount, the texture and the smell of the contents of nappies. Also, the horror stories of poop covering you, your child, the walls… it is a mine field! (A minefield filled with pooey nappies it seems!) Qtips These are a cross between your baby’s mortal enemy and greatest friend! Try to put them into her ear and there will be war, try to take them out of her hand and there will be war – you really can’t win! Rest Parents, be good to each other! You both deserve it, you both need it and if you can find someone good enough to take watch for an hour or two go up and have a cuddle and a nap! The most important people in this journey still are you guys (don’t let that little bundle of joy tear you apart!) Without you that little nipper won’t have anything, so remember, the baby is awesome, love it, but love each other even more… you need love to make it through to the other side. Sex *Tumbleweed* TV Boxsets on maternity leave ARE a thing! Enjoy the latest thrillers, dramas and high-brow entertainment whenever you can because in a few months you are going to be watching children’s programming for quite some time, we're on Peppa Pig! When you DO have the time to watch something for adults, there is every chance you won’t make it through the first 30 minutes without falling asleep! Understanding This is tough, you will get very little sympathy and NO one understands YOUR situation except your partner so talk to them. They are your best support. Vomit Ah vomit… it’s been a while now since our princess has vomited “properly”, i.e. sneezed out lumps of food! Yes, she spits out pieces of her meal on to my clothes and yes, she takes half chewed food which she finds distasteful and flings it at the wall… but cute baby vomit, NO. Baby vomit at the start was the shirt changer, suit destroyer and constant delayer but it IS funny (and even when it hasn’t happened it is a great way to explain being late!). You still get the ‘awwwwhhhh factor’ from it so milk it! (Pun intended!) Walking Don’t rush it… seriously DON’T rush it! The first steps are thrilling, the pride overcoming and the aftermath, frightening! They can now access a new world of dangers and they don’t give a damn about your nerves! Xercise Get as much as you can for the sake of your own mental health. Whether you have had the baby or you have a daddy belly, getting out and exercising is essential for your own mental and physical health! Yoghurt If all else fails and you have gone through EVERY piece of food that you have in the house… baby yogurt! It can open a mouth, end a tantrum and, if babies ruled the world, stop the fall of civilisation itself! A miracle food! ZZzzzzzzzzzzz People joke about the levels of tiredness. You get used to it, but never - and I mean never - pass on a nap when the opportunity arises. It is your duty to get that nap in and relish it! Now, if you have made it to here well done, but I hate to tell you this… probably very little of what I have said will apply to every baby! Just when you think you know these little critters they go and change the fecking rules on us and the learning curve STARTS ALL OVER AGAIN! Hahaha Good luck Dads (and Moms), I salute you!