There’s no getting around it – having your first baby is a life changing event, especially for uninitiated new dads in waiting.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve read ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’…in reality nothing can prepare you for the sights, smells and sleepless nights that you’ll experience in your first few months as a new parent.
But, after a significant amount of research, including real life insights from real life parents, YOUTHEDADDY has created an exclusive 12 step programme for new fathers (and new mums too), to help prepare you for your first baby’s imminent arrival.
Follow this advice (if you dare) and I guarantee you’ll be one of the most prepared new parents on the block…
1. Readjust your body clock
Prepare your body for months of night time feeds and late night nappy changes by getting your pregnant other half to hide a series of alarms clocks around your house, each going off (at full volume) at varying times throughout the night. Your mission will be to jump out of bed every time the alarm sounds, locate the source and quickly turn it off, before heating up a mug of warm milk for your partner before you’re allowed back into bed. Warning – your day job will suffer as a result, but they may as well get used to you falling asleep at your desk.
2. Become a nappy changing expert
If you haven’t changed a nappy before, you’re in for a serious shock when the baby arrives, as newborns can require up to 10 nappy changes per day (if not more!). So get practising early guys, using any baby shaped thing you have to hand – borrow a baby nephew or niece for the night or, if you don’t have one, try putting a nappy on a small squirming dog or wriggling cat. For the more advanced course, try doing it one handed, in the dark…and receive extra credit if you manage to do it without getting poo under your fingernails.
3. Practise your baby talk
While many new parents try to avoid it, for some reason adults find it almost impossible to talk in plain English around a baby, reverting instead to the most cringeworthy language of the all…baby talk. So, to ensure that you and your partner understand what the hell each other is saying to your new babe, you might as well start practising your baby chat early. “Who’s a clever girl den? How was your wibbly wobbly diddly day my smoochie woochie pregnant wifey drops?”
4. Get accustomed to the smell of old milk
Even for milk lovers such as myself, the smell of off milk is a major, wretch-worthy turn off. Unfortunately for newborn babies, milk is the only thing on the menu and, adding insult to injury, they have a strong tendency to throw it up and spit it out at any and every given opportunity. So prepare yourself for one of the most sickening smells you will encounter as a new parent by strategically spilling milk in random patches around your house – on your carpets, clothes and furniture – before letting it dry, so that the scent can really linger. For the more advanced course, try using the white stuff as your new aftershave or perfume, dabbing a few drops on your neck and wrists before leaving the house.
5. Engage in speed washing
As all new parents will attest, once your new baby arrives, you can say goodbye to long leisurely baths and showers, as their strict feeding and changing schedule leaves you with little time to sleep or eat, let alone wash. So start preparing yourself now by limiting your daily bathing to 30 second ‘speed showers‘, ensuring that all key body parts and crevices get the soapy attention they so desperately need.
6. Learn to live like a ninja
For new parents, nothing is more demoralising than accidentally waking up your baby after you’ve finally got it to sleep. To limit this unfortunate occurrence, stealth is key, whether you are creeping out of its room in the early hours or closing the front door as you leave the house for work in the morning. So start thinking like a ninja, and learn now how to get dressed, cook a meal, navigate your home in the dark, and (dare I say it) make love, in absolute silence.
7. Rethink your daily commute
If you are the family breadwinner and forced to go back to work soon after the baby’s birth, you will be in the unfortunate position of missing many of your new baby’s first experiences; its first smile, its first laugh and even its first poo (yes, that’s a thing). As a result, you will do everything in your power to ensure that you at least manage to get home every night for bath time. This may therefore require a serious rethink of your daily commute, to figure out how you can get from door to door in record time. Use this period before the baby’s arrival to try out your available options, whether by train, plane or automobile, as by God, you will not be a mere ‘weekend parent’!
8. Start paying your other half a weekly allowance
Assuming your partner will be the one on parental leave, get ready for a serious reduction in your family’s monthly income as their pay is slashed for the next year (or longer) while they stay at home looking after the new baby. During this time, your poor other half will effectively be penniless, and in most cases will need to be provided with a weekly allowance to ensure that they (and by association, your baby) don’t go hungry. So to prepare your wallet for some serious stretching once the baby arrives, start paying the pocket money right away – but woah woah…not for spending now! Put it in a separate account, and start dishing it out only after the baby is born.
9. Brush up on your lullaby repertoire
If you’ve ever tried putting a restless baby to sleep, you’ll know that calming music is an essential weapon in any new parent’s bedtime arsenal. But being a fully-fledged adult, you’ve probably forgotten all of the classic lullabies that helped put you to sleep as a small child. So to avoid any embarrassment when your partner catches you singing inappropriate rock ballads to your restless babe, you better start brushing up on your bedtime song list now. I recently discovered the following kid-friendly track, ‘Apples and bananas‘, which is so easy to learn and works wonders at inducing baby slumber given its highly repetitive nature…
10. Readjust your social expectations
Once the new baby comes, for the first few months at least, you can kiss goodbye to those late night sessions at the pub with your old drinking buddies that you so enjoyed as a cool(ish) twenty-something. So get into the antisocial habit now by refusing invitations to all future social events that start or finish after 7pm, while forcing your friends to visit you at home on the weekends (with presents for your new baby) for strict two hour time slots.
11. Baby weight training
While you may scoff at this suggestion given the average baby weighs no more than a couple of bags of sugar, lifting, rocking and carrying a new baby for hours on end takes serious strength. So start preparing in advance by dedicating your future gym sessions to boosting your upper body strength – a new routine of press ups, pull ups and bench presses should do the trick, to ensure you are one fit daddy when the baby finally arrives, while avoiding any embarrassing repetitive strain injuries you might otherwise experience.
12. Prepare your friends for the inevitable flurry of baby pics on social media
If I had a pound for every time a childless friend complained that their Facebook and Instagram feeds were being clogged up by smug parents uploading photo after photo of their new baby, I’d be a rich man (well, about £15 richer, which would still be nice). So to ensure your followers are suitably prepared for your change in photographic focus on social media, best prepare them early by posting the below disclaimer, followed by daily pics of cute babies alongside nauseating inspirational quotes. At least then, when you start posting photos of your actual baby, it’ll be perceived as some kind of improvement.
So for all you expectant parents out there, good luck! Just 30 weeks and two days left to go…
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog. As always I would love to hear your thoughts too, so if you have any tips to help new parents prepare for their baby’s arrival, do share your insights in the comments section below.