Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! You’re now officially a father, and if you’re anything like most new dads, you’re already feeling overwhelmed by the screaming little banshee living in the bassinet by your bed.
Why didn’t anyone tell you you’d only sleep for 15 minutes at a time or that you’d spend half your evenings scraping poo off your ceiling fan? Rest assured, your life will get easier, but before it does you’ll have to survive your baby’s first six weeks. It’s going to take patience, persistence, a sense of humor and 16,000 receiving blankets, but you, your partner and the monster that popped out of her loins will indeed survive.
Read on to discover how to expertly navigate what most experts agree is the most challenging time of your baby’s life, learn how to survive the first two months of fatherhood.
Nap like a champ
Sleep whenever you get the chance, regardless of the time of day or the duration of the nap. That may mean forsaking the last quarter of a basketball game you’ve been watching on TV or putting one of your favorite hobbies on the back burner until your child is a little older and less demanding. It’s easy to get burned out so it is very important to stay rested.
Friends and relatives will likely start coming out of the woodwork in your newborn’s first few weeks, and while you certainly want to show off your new addition, it’s critical that you put you and your baby’s welfare first. If necessary, be a little bit selfish and say no to others’ requests if you don’t have the energy. When family and friends do drop by, don’t be afraid to put them to work. Ask your loved ones to bring a freshly cooked dinner each time they visit, or invite your partner’s parents over to help with some of the household chores. Regardless of how tenuous your relationship may be with your in-laws, you’re bound to see them in a totally new light when they’re down on their hands and knees scrubbing the grout in your tub.
Get ready to get dirty
Although everyone always talks about the miracle of child birth, the real miracle is the fact that a human being with a stomach the size of a chickpea can have bowel movements the size of a softball. As angelic as your newborn may be, the contents of their diapers will have you reaching out for your hazmat suit at least twice a day. Of course, poo is only part of the problem. You have to prepare yourself for the fact that you’re going to get peed on more often than R. Kelly on spring break. Once you do accept that unavoidable truth, you’ll be a much happier father.
Since babies are deigned to leak at both ends, you’ll want to load up on plenty of cleaning supplies. You could use soap and water, but they’ll never truly make your baby’s smell disappear, so make sure to have plenty of industrial strength cleaning supplies on hand. There are plenty of products available at the drug store that are powerful but not toxic for the environs that your new baby will be living in.
Filter the information
As a new father, you’re sure to be inundated with a steady stream of advice from family and friends. Although they may mean well, it’s important to take their guidance with a grain of salt. After all, what worked for your grandmother during the Great Depression might not necessarily work for you. You know your baby better than anyone else, so trust your instincts as a new parent.
Get ready to be the errand boy
Your baby will need to spend the bulk of his time with his mother, so your job is to take on the grunt work. Get ready to swallow your manly pride as you march off to the grocery store multiple times a day to buy diapers, panty liners and breast pads. Although you may not feel like leaving the house, a short walk each day can make a genuine difference to how you feel. Fresh air and light exercise can stimulate your body’s endorphins, and make you feel better and more alert.
Go easy on yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go according to plan. Nobody expects you to have all the answers in this early period. In fact, many of your friends and relatives are probably still amazed you even figured out how to impregnate a woman in the first place. The key is to take things in stride and to aspire to be the best parent you can be at each stage of your child’s development.
Since newborns can test your patience, it’s especially important to remember to laugh. By laughing at a situation, you’ll find the energy needed to move forward, and your newborn might even live to see his first birthday. In the words of American broadcaster Charles Osgood, “Babies are always more trouble than you thought — and more wonderful.” That’s an important message to remember when your newborn vomits on his third brand new outfit in less than five minutes.
Although your newborn may make your days shorter, your nights longer, your bankroll smaller, and your sex life non-existent, he’ll also make your home happier and your life far more fulfilling. Enjoy the ride