Most of the time, moms are the focus when it comes to bringing a new little bundle of joy into this world. Everyone is excited, there are baby showers and gifts, birth plans and appointments, nursery design and decoration, and finally, that trip to the hospital to begin the next adventure.
Nobody is ever going to say that Mom is second banana in this scenario; obviously she plays a very important part. The question that we will be exploring today, however, is what about poor dear old Dad? Where does he fit into this equation? How does he feel about throwing any sense of normalcy out the window?
It is not uncommon for new fathers to have major bouts of self doubt and insecurity when they are faced with the reality of fatherhood. That sweet little angel face looking up at them in those early days following birth can cause all kinds of anxiety some. In reality, many of these poor guys feel a bit clueless when it is time to come home with their new little family. Not to worry!! This is not uncommon!
This discussion is not intended to "excuse" any bad behaviors on the part of the new papas, it is only being explored to shine a light on a subject that may not otherwise get much fanfare.
20 How Do I Hold This Tiny Thing?
According to Parents Magazine, many new dads are very concerned that they may "break the baby" if they do not hold them correctly. They may or may not say this out loud, but it is certainly one of the familiar choruses playing in their sleep deprived, over stressed, and anxiety ridden heads.
Part of the reason for this irrational thought is just a plain old lack of experience. Dads are often faced with the reality that they haven't ever actually held a newborn baby.
As most new moms can attest, newborns are tiny works of art that resemble no other form of beauty on this planet. They are fragile and innocent. They smell amazing, and fill our hearts with a love we've never had in our lives.
The new dad just needs a little bit of confidence in order to jump over this first hurdle. It's okay, papas, you'll get the hang of it soon.
19 Why Is Baby Crying So Much?
Whether we like it or not (of course we don't like it) new born babies cry... a lot. They are learning about this strange new world they have entered, and it is their only means of communication. Moms usually seem to understand this concept right out of the gate; dads however, may need a bit more time to adjust.
According to The Bump, new dads tend to blame themselves for the baby's waterworks much more often than new moms. It's really just a matter of tending to the baby's needs, and following their lead. Sometimes, however, instead of taking the hint from the baby and trying this and that to soothe, the new daddy may feel that it is his fault that baby is crying in the first place. This is rarely the case.
It's normal for babies to cry, new daddies. It's okay, and even expected. Before you know it, you are going to fully understand which cry means what, and you'll feel like an old pro!
18 How Do I Feed/Help Feed The Baby?
Feeding our new bundles of joy is one of the most wonderful experiences that new parents can experience. It is a time of close bonding, and obvious moment when we are meeting our little one's needs. What is a new dad to do however when he feels excluded from the entire experience?
One survey by Live About suggests that new dads often do not know how to include themselves in the experience. One obvious reason may be that Mom has decided to breastfeed, and Dad may have trouble wrapping his head around the entire concept. Not only do they need to learn to see their wife's body a bit differently, but they don't know how to be a part of the process.
One way to include yourself is to snuggle in for a bit of the process. If this is not comfortable for you or the new mommy, perhaps a bottle can be pumped so that you can have your turn as well. Whatever the case, your new normal will be working itself out very soon, and everything will become much more natural.
17 How Do I Know If Baby Needs A Bath?
According to Dad Info, bathing a newborn is usually not very high on the list of needs that require immediate attention. Although the idea of bathing baby may plague the mind of a brand new daddy, it is not something that requires much but a sound mind and calm and loving hands. When the time does indeed come, Dad Info goes on to say that common sense should be your guide (Okay, and maybe a little help from the mama the first time or two).
Bath time is yet another wonderful bonding experience between parent and baby. It is not something to stress about, just a sweet rite of passage between any new daddy and their sweet smelling bundle of joy.
If you must know when you will know when your little one requires a bath, just look to the days activities, and let that be your guide. If lots of poops and spit ups have transpired over that last several hours, your nose will likely be your best guide.
16 Diapers? What?
Oh, the great diaper debate! Mom's turn? Dad's turn? Can't we just ask the garbage man to do it for us and cut out the middle man? Of course this is indeed one of the most frequent tasks involved in taking care of a newborn, but to someone who lacks experience (i.e. many new fathers) the idea of changing a diaper can be downright scary.
Have no fear, Super Dad, according to Psychology Today, your irrational fears of changing baby are not actually irrational. Many proud papas feel exactly the same way early on in their parenting journey. New experiences are often perceived as intimidating, even when in reality, there is truly nothing to worry about.
So what's a dad to do? Well, as the old adage goes, practice makes perfect, my friend. Jump in with two hands and never look back. You've got this!!
15 Can We Afford This New Baby?
Unfortunately, feelings of inadequacy often affect new dads early on in their parenting adventure. Suddenly, there is a tiny little human that is one hundred percent dependent on round the clock care, and this may come as a shock to some new papas.
According to The Bump, many new dads fear that they will somehow fall short on being able to support the new baby.
They see things such as diapers and formula, doctors and daycare, and wonder how they will ever be able to bankroll all of these new expenses.
The reality? Most of the time, this is an irrational fear. Somehow, even though most of us have wondered how we would be able to make ends meet once we started our families, everything ends up working out just fine. Am I saying not to worry about it at all? Certainly not; but the fact that you are concerned about looking out for your family and their future means that you are already headed in the right direction.
14 Will I Be A Good Father?
Psychology Today has studied the many varied thoughts expressed by new and nervous dads, and one of the most common fears is that they will somehow not be sure that they can be a good father. Why is this? Well, the short answer is that men often have complicated relationships with their own fathers, leaving the term "good father" open to much interpretation.
Self-doubt is often a healthy sign that one is capable of deep self-reflection. According to Live About, many new dads are either afraid they won't live up to their own father's demonstration, or on the other hand, are so concerned with their own father's mistakes, they feel a true sense of fear that they will mess up.
Either way, each and every father throughout history has had to create their own path. Mistakes will be made, along with many wonderful accomplishments and successes. Give yourself permission to become the best father you can be, and everything else will fall into place.
13 How Can I Go To Work And Still Stay Involved?
In an article published by Dad Info, new fathers often fear that the baby will not know them very well because they have to leave to work long hours on a daily basis. They worry that they will not have time to hang out with the baby, and their precious little one will not be happy to see them when they finally have time to hang out.
Although there are indeed extreme situations that baby may not have the opportunity to bond with pops, most of the time, a new normal is developed, and everyone ends up falling into a comfortable and balanced family groove.
Change is often most difficult in the beginning, but where there's a will, there's usually a way. Particularly when everybody wants the same things. Unnecessary worry is not healthy for anyone. All you can do is your best, and have some faith that everything will be just fine.
12 Will My Wife Pay Attention To Me Anymore?
Insecurities often have a way of playing with our hearts and minds. For the brand new daddy, this is certainly something that occurs with much frequency."Who is this tiny new person, and how am I still going to get any attention from my wife?" Sound familiar? According to The Bump, fret not, Daddio. It's going to be okay. Guess what? There is plenty of room for love in family life!
I'm not here to tell you that things are not going to shift a bit, particularly in the beginning, but where there is love, everyone usually ends up getting what they need. Make no mistake, your own priorities are set for a grand shift as well... Just wait until those sweet baby eyes are following you around the room. You may opt for some baby snuggle time yourself!!
In the end, everybody needs to make a certain amount of adjustments to keep things running smoothly, but as with anything worthwhile, everyone is required to put in a good effort.
11 Will I Ever Get My Old Life Back?
As Psychology Today stated, the fear of somehow "losing" ones old life is a common concern among new fathers. Make no mistake, your life will certainly be different than your pre-baby world, but not much in life stays the same anyway, right? What fun would that be?
The good news is that as everyone becomes more comfortable, and life finds a new normal, we can usually figure out how to prioritize so that the most important needs of all involved are met most of the time. If that means that you need to go golfing once a month, then so be it. If your wife needs a hair appointment or a good work out, it's your duty to see that that happens as well.
For the most part, parenting and family life is somewhat of a balancing act. With practice and persistence, most families get better at juggling.
10 Will I Do Everything Right?
Parents Magazine ran an article about the crazy notion that new moms and dads need to feel that they are doing everything right. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE! Do not get caught up in that unrealistic way of thinking. Nobody does everything right. It's just not how we work as humans, particularly in our roles as parents.
The key to this dilemma is not to let that fact get you down. Doing the best you can is always something to be proud of. Live and learn as they say. Hold your head up high from the triumphs, and learn to learn from your mistakes when it is necessary. It's okay to mess up sometimes!
In any case, the health and wellbeing of your little one will likely always be in the forefront of your mind. As long as that is how you roll, things will likely turn out just fine. Besides, who is really going to judge you? Any parent worth their salt understands that nobody's perfect. Don't fight it, try to embrace it.
9 Will I Be A Good Provider?
I think this is a question that has plagued new fathers throughout history. The unknown can be extremely unnerving. There are many factors that go into providing for one's family, but of course, the most important factor involved here is commitment. When you are a responsible and committed father to your baby, the rest will likely fall into place.
Dad Info says that the dads that are not concerned about how they will provide for their families are more likely to fail at that very proposition. If you aren't worrying, you may or may not be ready for the unexpected things that come along with parenthood.
The only thing that your kids will remember if you are indeed successful in this area, is that you did the best by them. They will know that you care, love, and treasure their health and well being above anything else.
8 Will Everything Center Around Baby?
Well, in this area, the long and short of it is a resounding YES. It happens to the best of us, moms and dads alike. Life gets complicated for a bit. That's not to say that it will stay that way forever, but these tiny little people that we bring into the world are itty bitty need machines. Just when you think you can have a moment to yourself...they have a much different idea. It's not all bad though.
What happens, according to The Bump, is that you actually WANT to center everything around baby. It's kind of the natural way that things flow in a house with a newborn. Why, you ask? Well, apart from the obvious reasons, they are just so very interesting! Even when you think that you can chill for a moment, you will likely find yourself front and center, just waiting for you little bundle to need you.
Enjoy every minute of it, because time has a way of going much too fast!
7 Do I Have To Grow Up Now?
The good news is, if you are mature enough to be asking yourself this question, you are ahead of the game. Listen up, dads... Your little people are now depending on you to be the adult in their world. It's not a game. According to Parents Magazine, many fathers in this modern day are not mature enough to handle the responsibilities that are soon to be heading their way.
Between teen pregnancies, the concept of "baby daddy", and reality TV shows, young men today have fewer role models than generations of the past. If you are one that has planned to have this child and start a family, congratulations! At least you are one step ahead.
For those that are struggling with giving up their own childhood, the time to be worried about that has officially passed. Time to man up, buttercup.
6 Will I Ever Sleep Again?
Sleep is a commodity that is quite precious in a household with a brand new baby. Babies are on their own schedule, and most of them are up every two hours or so for the first few months of life. It's nothing personal, they just need to eat!! ...and burp, and poop, and snuggle, etc. So what is the answer to your question? Sorry, but it may not be the answer you were hoping for.
You see, parenthood changes things. Sure, the baby will eventually sleep through the night, and you will eventually have the "opportunity" to get a good night's rest, however, according to Live About, most parents never fully enjoy the same deep levels of sleep that they experienced before having a baby. Your internal clock just never fully recovers.
Whether it's a storm outside that you think may wake the baby, or a strange sound in the house that makes you get up and check to see if everything is okay, our senses are never quite the same once our little world is no longer only about us.
5 What If Something Is Wrong With The Baby?
This is by no means a fear exclusive to new dads. I think at one time or another, all parents worry about something being wrong with their precious babies. Truth? Most of the time, everything is fine. Also truth? Sometimes it isn't. The bottom line is that no matter what the future holds for your little one, you will love them and do your very best to see that all of their needs are met.
When babies have loving and involved parents, they more times than not, grow up to feel loved. According to Dad Info, there is nothing more important than truly unconditional love for both typical and non-typical children. Do your best to be there for your baby no matter what "being there" may look like.
We all want our kids to thrive, and more than anything else on this planet, being a wonderful parent to your baby is where it all begins.
4 Will The House Always Be Messy?
Messy houses are a signal that people actually live there. Don't sweat the small stuff. If you are truly concerned, there are strategies that you can attempt to implement early in the game to try and keep life a bit more organized. Parents Magazine is full of them! I'm not gonna lie though, housework often takes a back burner to the immediate needs of a newborn.
On a positive note, infancy by nature, is a relatively short period of time. If you are indeed a neat freak, and miss you opportunities to spritz and spray and every little bit of dust, your moment in the sun will likely return within a relatively short period of time.
I will warn you, however, priorities have a way of moving around a bit once you settle into family life. What was once high on the list, may find itself much closer to the bottom and vice versa. It's all a balancing act.
3 Will My Parents Be Proud Of Me?
For most of us, the meter stick by which we measure our own successes and failures often can be traced back to our own parents. Having a baby is certainly no different in that respect. In fact, bringing home our first baby brings up so many issues that we may not have evern realized we had! Our parents' opinion may be more important than we have realized for quite a few years.
According to The Bump, the reason for this is fairly straightforward. Nobody truly knows what it is like to be a parent until they become one themselves. It's true! Nieces and nephews, pets, neighbors, students don't count!! There is just nothing else like it in the world.
It is for this reason, that our own parents suddenly become more human once we have children of our own. Take it or leave it, but their compliments or criticisms will most likely hit you harder than anyone else's on the planet.
2 Will My Baby Recognize Me When I Return From The Military?
Honestly, the bond between parent and child knows nothing of distance and time. In this day and age, communication through a myriad of technologies is more accessible to everyone. If you are serving your country, make no mistake that your baby will indeed feel your presence within them. Take comfort in that pride.
According to Live About, military families tend to have extremely strong bonds, even when physical presence needs to be quite limited. It's just one of those wonderful mysteries of the universe.
If a long separation is required, and you have concerns about your baby remembering your face, Live About also recommends leaving a recording of your voice along with pictures and a piece or two of clothing for baby to snuggle up to. It will be okay. Love conquers all.
1 What If I Can't Soothe The Baby?
Welcome to the wonderful world of uncertainty and inconsistency!! Parenting is a constant work in progress, and this level of trial and error starts on day one. Will you be able to soothe your baby? Absolutely...sometimes. Every time? Maybe. Your baby is a tiny human with many needs and emotions. The idea that we will always be able to make them "all better" is a tall order, but most of us will certainly give it our best shot.
As our babies get older, this balancing act continues. Parents Magazine confirms that children are more likely to seek comfort from their parents if they are genuinely concerned with their well being. A little bit of empathy and compassion goes a long way in the relationship between parent and child. In other words, if you care, they know.
In any case, don't worry too much about what you can't control, and do your best to control what you can. Enjoy the ride, because before you know it, your little baby will be all grown up.
Sources: The Bump, Parents Magazine, Live About, Psychology Today, Dad Info