Ten Tips for New Dads
August 16, 2012
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
By Tyler Carlson
- As the Dad, I always considered myself the "safety manager." So take on that role and always be on the lookout for potential hazards and unsafe situations. If you feel uncomfortable about something, be subtle, but check it out-for your peace of mind, and your baby's well-being. Just remember, "If you have a doubt, check it out."
- It's a tough (and stinky!) job, but get the hang of changing diapers. To make it easier, before changing a diaper, gather all the items you think you'll need; and maybe even some items you'd never thought you'd need! That way you'll have all the "tools" right at your fingertips. Keep your baby occupied by talking to him or her or put a toy in their hands to keep them from reaching and pulling, etc.
- As a parent of a sick child, if you are wondering if you should take your child to the doctor or emergency room (if immediate urgent care is needed) I suggest erring on the side of caution. Doctors and nurses have the tools and expertise to diagnose a condition or symptom that you may never have thought of. And don't feel stupid for asking them questions and making sure everything is okay.
- Turn the T.V. down-and if you don't turn it down, turn it off. A new baby makes for a very hectic household, and the TV is a distraction, another voice and background noise to compete with as you try to communicate with each other.
- Don't be afraid to take your baby with you when you go places, whether it's the grocery store, for a walk, to visit relatives, etc. Let them experience new places and new surroundings. It will help you gain confidence -and your baby's independence and development. Let them experience the things you enjoy doing.
- Always make eye contact with your child as you speak to them. As a parent, you want their full attention, so make sure you give them yours. This becomes an even more important skill as your baby gets older.
- If you're left overwhelmed with cleaning a house where every room ends up trashed- start with the dishwasher or washing the dishes. This is the "infrastructure" of your house. Once you get the dirty dishes washed and put away, you can clean the kitchen-once you clean the kitchen, you can move on to the next room, and so on.
- Make time for your baby-be sure you spend some quality one-on-one time with him or her as often as possible. It's hard to juggle a job, chores, family obligations, etc., but spending quality time with your baby reaps great rewards-for both you and your child. Try to cherish those moments, as they grow up quickly!
- Be aware that everything you do is watched, heard and learned by your child--even when they are a few months old. You have an incredible opportunity to be a role model for them, someone they can look to and look up to, so set a good example.
- Support the Mom--New Moms are learning too, so it's important to give her the help she needs, which in turn helps you. Try to work as a team and talk to each other, know each other's strengths and give each other breaks.
These are just a few helpful tips that can guide you through your first few weeks and months, and beyond! Here are some additional resources for expecting dads:
- Father's Class - This two-hour class explores life changes fatherhood brings to new fathers, both before and after the birth of your child. Our facilitator is a father who understands fatherhood first hand.
- Online Resources: