If you’ve just become a dad (or will be a dad in a few months) and looking for some first-time dad tips and advice for new dads, congratulations, and welcome aboard! Your journey is just getting started, and we hope that our guide can serve you well.
Becoming a father is one of the biggest events you’ll ever experience in your life. As you hold your baby for the first time, there’s an immense joy that goes with it. It’s your baby, the product of the love you and your partner have. You even feel thrilled and excited about what the future holds for your baby—the first word, first walk, first birthday, first day in school, and so much more.
But along with the excitement, comes with anxiousness. Even though you’ve prepared yourself for this moment, it still hits different. Suddenly, you’re no longer just a married man but have become the head of the family too. You then feel worried as you’re unsure of what to do—how to bond with your baby, maintain relationship with your spouse, how to change the diapers, how to mix the formula, etc.
It’s normal to feel that way. What we can suggest is that you take a deep breath, settle down, and keep in mind these 15 first time dad tips that will help you, your new baby, and your relationship. By following the advice for new dads that we’ve listed below, you’ll be able to balance out your priortites and take care of your baby and partner efficiently. Read on!
1Get hands-on from the start.
Be involved with everything. Don’t just watch your partner take care of your baby– do it too or help her out. Taking care of your baby such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and diaper changing is not just going to build your skills but improve your relationship too with your baby and your partner. Your partner just went through childbirth, so giving them a much-needed break is important too. Also, getting hands-on with your kid will help you get that one-on-one bonding moment.
2Establish a routine.
This is one of the first time dad tips that you should be prioritizing. It’s important to establish a routine the moment baby’s home. Having proper schedules for you and your partner is a must so that both of you will be able to recharge from the activities. This will also give you a clearer mind instead of just being confused about what to do.
3Connect with your infant through touch.
Carrying and holding your child is a must. It makes the baby feel safe and secure and create a trusting connection with you. Aside from that, physical touch can make an infant calmer which will result in less crying and better sleeping habits.
It’s also beneficial for you. According to an interview with Ann Bigelow, a professor ad researcher of developmental psychology at St. Francis Xavier University, holding your baby reduces your stress level.
4Learn your baby’s signals.
Another first time dad tips that you should be prioritizing is being a keen observer. Be observant of your baby’s cues. See how they respond to certain words and check their body language. By being a keen observer, you’ll be able to figure early on if your baby is hungry, uncomfortable, or pooping. This will make things a bit easier for you and your partner, instead of just scratching your heads every time your baby cries.
5Talk to your baby regularly.
One of the advice for new dads that people have mixed feelings to is this: Talk to your baby. Some find this a profound way of communicating with your child, while others find it nonsensical.
Well for the folks who are thinking that baby talk isn’t essential at all, you might wanna change your perspective with that.
Talking to your baby is crucial for their development. A simple “hellooo little one” or singing a nursery rhyme will work wonders for your child’s language development. Eighty percent of your baby’s physical development happens during her first three years. During this time, your child is soaking up the sounds and tones and language that you’re speaking to them.
Now if you’re wondering how to do baby talk properly, well there are no official rules in this. Heck, you can sing a whole Britney spears song and the baby might find that fascinating. But if you really need some guidance on this, here are some basic baby talk tips:
- Talk with your infant more often.
- Look in your child’s eyes when talking to them.
- It’s okay to exaggerate the tone of your voice. You’ll most likely get your baby’s attention from a cutesy, high-pitched voice than using your normal tone.
- When the baby talks back at you, don’t look away or interrupt them. Listen.
6Have some one-on-one bonding.
It’s fun to bond with your kid while your partner is there, but having a one-on-one time is essential too. It helps on solidifying the connection as father and child, as well as help you be more in-tune with their needs.
Though this is one of the must-follow first-time dad tips, it’s one of those advice for new dads that you don’t have to take literally. You don’t necessarily have to take your baby away from their mom just to get that bonding, a simple baby-talk session while changing their clothes or making faces with each other while their mom’s asleep will be enough.
7Support your partner.
Help your partner as much as you could. Becoming a mother is difficult for her too, not to mention the physical changes that she has to endure just to deliver your child.
Give her practical support: help her with the house chores, give her a glass of water if you think she’s getting parched, and bring some of her favorite treats.
Giving emotional support is vital too: listen to her dilemmas, ask her how she’s doing, don’t forget to tell her how much you love her, make love if possible, and reassure her at all times.
Supporting each other will bring a more harmonious relationship to the family which will be highly beneficial to the relationship with your partner and with your baby.
8Stock up on coffee!
This is one of the first time dad tips that you should follow asap. Once the baby’s home, fill your cupboard with some instant coffee.
Yep, being a father means sleepless nights. Since babies can be pretty much unpredictable, expect waking up at 2 AM with your baby just crying their heart out for some attention. With that being said, get your coffee ready at all times.
9Learn how to be a sleeping ninja.
This is one of the first time dad tips that you’ll have to learn for a few weeks or months, unless you’ve been a sleeping ninja ever since.
The thing with babies is that they kinda have a flexible sleeping sched. Sometimes they’re sleeping in the morning until noontime and then just awake the whole night. Then sometimes they’re actually sleeping at night and then awake the whole afternoon. It’s pretty much unpredictable.
With that, you and your partner should get as much as sleep as you can. Baby’s snuggled in at 3 PM? Close your eyes and recharge those sleep-deprived cells.
10Avoid buying unnecessary baby devices.
With online shopping dominating the retail game, it can be quite tempting to add a lot of baby devices to your cart.
Wipe warmer, pacifier wipes, disposable placemats, baby food maker, diaper stacker, baby timers—there are so many products out there, marketing themselves as a way to make your life easier.
Here’s an advice for new dads: No baby device can magically make things easier. Taking care of a baby will always have its challenges. You don’t need an instant baby food maker. You don’t need to stack up against your diapers with some complicated device. Just go with the basics—you’ll save tons of money and space.
11Don’t sweat the stinky stuff!
We get that it can be icky to be dealing with baby poop and baby sick every day. But here’s an advice for new dads: it’s natural and expects to see various shapes and textures in years to come. The only time you should be stressing out because of poop is if you see something red on it— well, in that case, consult your baby’s pediatrician immediately!
12Take care of yourself too.
Though there’s so little time to get that rest, you must look after yourself too. As you have a child that’s relying on you now, it’s best to ditch some vices and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Get some rest too— who will take care of your child and your partner if your body’s damaged? This is one of the first-time dad tips that you shouldn’t forget.
13Research, research, and research.
Even if you’ve read countless blog posts like this one from Lauvette or have read numerous books about fatherhood, there’s still a lot of information out there. Continue learning about parenthood not just from experts but with experienced parents too– some even have advice for new dads that weren’t written on parenthood books and expert guides.
Just make sure to use common sense and critical thinking before believing a certain concept (e.g. anti-vaxx parents pushing other parents to not vaccinate their kids or essential-oils-obsessed parents treating oils like meds).
14It’s okay to ask for help.
We get that you feel obliged to become the tough one. You want to be strong enough for partner and child as you overcome the challenges of becoming a new parent. But here are some first-time dad tips for you about strength. First, it’s normal to feel exhausted too, and it’s normal to express it too—and no not by lashing out, but by simply sitting and telling your partner about it. Or by asking your parents or aunts to babysit for a while.
Second, asking for help doesn’t make you weak. You and your partner are only human. Besides, you’re just getting with this whole shebang for the first time. If trusted family members offer some babysitting, grab that opportunity to fully recharge and prepare yourself for more challenges in the future.
15Don’t forget to enjoy the little moments.
We get that taking care of a child can be overwhelming. But remember, time flies so fast. The next thing you knew, that child you’re holding is now an 18-year-old adult.
Here an advice for new dads: Enjoy the present. Stop getting anxious about what to do next all the time. Use cameras and capture those special milestones and events. You can only bond with this child once—don’t take the little moments for granted.
Being a father for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but it sure does bring immense happiness. Now, we get that even if you do all these first-time dad tips, you’ll still make mistakes. If that happens, well remember what to do the next time it happens, and save up that funny story in the future.
As we’re celebrating father’s day, we hope that the advice for new dads that we’ve given here will get through you the unpredictable life of fatherhood. Good luck and Happy Father’s Day!