Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First Week Dad

It has been just a little over a week since I became an official dad. Whew, has it been an experience so far!
I can't begin to imagine how tired mommy is!

I wanted to update today with some things new dads may notice or feel with a new little one.
  1. Am I doing all I can to help out?
  2. How am I going to provide for everyone with what little I make?
  3. Am I handling baby carefully enough? 
 One of my biggest concerns so far have been the thought that I am not being dad enough. It concerns me that I feel like I can do so little. Sure, I change a diaper here and there. I hold baby when she is crying and resting. I can't do much on the feeding side of things, because well....I am still not lactating the last time I checked. Still, I do not feel that I am doing everything I can or should be. I constantly feel like there is something more I need to do. Does this feeling happen a lot with new dads?

My second fear is how am I going to provide for a family when I am now the amount of our total income. Sure many dads out there get lucky and strike it rich or own their own businesses. I am not one of those lucky ones. I work for the man doing a normal full time job (not that its hard), and still lucky to get by as we do currently. Now, we have another love in our life to take care of on a less income. How do other dads do it? We have began eating out less and shopping at the grocery store more. Our personal buying habits have slowed down. The fear still exists. What do other dads do?

My last main concern is hurting the baby. No, not intentionally. They just seem so fragile. I am not one who has handled babies a lot in the past. Any time someone would ask if I wanted to hold a baby, my answer was always NO! I can barely do things without hurting myself. Why would I want to risk hurting something so little? I am in the learning process of how to pick up the baby and hold her, but it still makes me a little uncomfortable at times. Their little heads are so wobbly and it makes me nervous. At least this is something I can resolve with experience.

first week dad


If any dads out there read this, please take the time to respond to a couple of my concerns and let me know your thoughts. All thoughts are always helpful.

9 comments:

  1. I was actually discussing this with someone last week and told them just to forget that they are fragile. That's a myth - for the most part. Just make sure whoever holds the baby does so supporting the neck and you're fine. I remember when my son was 4 months old he rolled off the bed - he was fine. Then another time I was walking down the stairs holding my son and slipped on a stair and thought for sure he was injured. He just laughed. There were times were I thought my son's leg broke and it was just the way he was laying.

    As for not doing enough, you're probably doing fine. There's not much to do until the baby takes formula. Just change your share of diapers and clothes and everything will fall into place. Enjoy yourself too.

    CJ

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    1. Thanks for the reply CJ. I am getting a little more used to the fragile part. We have already had our smalled dog step on her and thankfully she was fine. :)
      Sounds like I am sorta on the right track otherwise.

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  2. The fact that you have these thoughts means that you are doing a great job. Though there might be "little" for you to do, those things that you can, mean the world. Any little bit helps especially with an over-tired mommy. Don't forget that there are things around the house that you can do having nothing to do directly with the baby. That's a BIG one. We might not say it but we worry about maintaining the house, making sure things get done, etc. even though all of our instincts are concentrating on trying to care for the new baby.

    Sending you prayers and blessings on your bundle of joy!

    Sili

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    1. Sili,

      Thanks for your comment. Today I actually went and did our grocery shopping. I have been trying to keep up with cleaning the floors in the house and little things here and there. I haven't forgotten those things. I guess most of my mind lately is just on writing about baby. :) Thanks for the prayers and blessings!!

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  3. Fear #1: Your job as a dad is simple right now, KEEP MOMMA HAPPY!!! :) I know it sounds cliche but think about it. You are limited in how much actual parenting that you can do at the moment holding the baby, talking to the baby and changing diapers is pretty much your max. BUT you can make you wife's life easier. Think about it, she's exhausted all she can do at the moment is take care of the baby, so take time out to make her life easier. Clean the house for her, do the laundry, do the dishes, cook, bring her home little gifts (it doesn't have to be expensive). Have her pump some milk and store it so that she can get out of the house and you can watch the baby. Or better yet have a family member or close friend watch the baby for an hour or so and take her on a date for dinner. This is your job now. Soon (VERY SOON) you will actually start feeling like a Dad and will be able to play and talk and feed and do everything for that little kiddo but now you keep mom happy.
    Fear #2: Man I hear you, as dad's I feel like it is built into our DNA, the worry of how we will provide. Honestly, it doesn't really go away. But it does get easier. My wife and I have made sacrifices to take care of our son, a big help has been a strong budget and being realistic about costs and then preparing and saving for the future. This can be tough but it's worth it.
    Fear #3: I had a little bit of the same fear at first but my son came out strong and big (10lbs.) so he wasn't quite as fragile as some. But thankfully your child will only get stronger and stronger by the day and you'll feel more and more confident as they do. The key is, keep holding them, I found that laying down with them on my chest was easiest. It is also good for your baby to have skin to skin time with dad as well as mom ( I know it kinda sounds weird but it is a scientific thing that the baby will bond with the dad more the more time that they have their skin against your skin) So Dad take off that shirt and let your baby lay their head against you.
    I hope this helps. The first 6-8 weeks were the hardest for me. After that it started to get really fun and I started to feel more like a Dad. (My son turns 1 in March)

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    1. Thanks StuPlatt,
      My wife told me earlier how much she appreciates all that I am doing. I dont feel that it is very much, but I am guessing every little bit helps.
      10lbs is a big baby! I bet you got a good arm workout after a while??

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  4. Father of four here. A few quick points during lunch break.
    1- Take care of the baby as much as you can. You may not be able to calm her for a while, but she will learn eventually. When she does, you'll feel much more useful. Get some earplugs.
    2- At this point, your main job is to take care of your wife. Other commenters covered it well, but I'll add this: remind yourself to see her as your lover, and not as the mother of your child. THIS IS CRITICAL. It is very easy for parents to forget themselves and their couple, and this often leads to tension. So remind her gently but often you find her beautiful, ease her fears about her appearance and be good to her in any way you can. You are her pillar.
    3- Don't pressure her for sex, but but do not hide your desire away from her either. In my case, the sexual lulls lasted three weeks for the first and 18 months for the last three kids. We almost split a few times over this. No easy answer on this one - "keep communicating" is all I can say. Well, that and "It'll come back - sex has been SO AWESOME in the last 2 years, I'm glad we stuck together".
    4- Babies are fragile in many ways - much less than you think though - but they heal so fast it'll blow your mind. Don't worry too much about this, really, and enjoy playing physically with your daughter. Girls also like to tussle, no matter what Mom says.
    5- While we're there - Mom may not always like that you do things differently than her. You should listen to her, but you are under no obligation to do everything she says. You two will have different ways of interacting with the kid, and that's precisely how it's meant to be. Don't lose your way - it's just as worthy as hers in many ways.
    6- Present a unified front to the kids as much as you can. Both parents have to constantly synchronize on issues like snacks and naps and discipline. Your kid will spend years scrutinizing you two and will learn very early to exploit flaws and chinks to her advantage (this means she's smart BTW). You may go differently about enforcing rules, but the rules themselves must be as consistent as possible. If Dad says no cookie before bedtime, Mom must back Dad up... and Dad must return the favor.
    7- Books are a good resource for tricks and information. Sometimes their solutions seem too simple, too hard or just farfetched. It's OK to try them if you think they'll help, but don't trust them over your feelings. Take a honest look at the cost versus the results. If it's not working for you, it's not working.
    8- Do what I say, not what I do does not work. Ever. Become the person you want your kid to be. That's so fucking hard.
    9- After the first few months (as soon as the kid can survive it), couple comes first and kid second. A good relationship between parents means a happy house for everyone. A spoiled kid means a crappy house for everyone (even the kid).
    10- Adapt your rules to reality, not the other way around.
    11- Nature is messy and unruly. A messy house is a lively house.
    12- Everything in this list is relative. Pick your battles and let the rest go. Do what you can and stop beating yourself on the head already. You have many more years to go.
    13- Have fun, Dad :)

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  5. Same guy here... I forgot a capital point:
    12.5- Take care of yourself. People depend on you now. Don't let yourself be paralyzed by this, but your health is not exclusively your problem anymore (just mostly). If you want to enjoy your daughter's company and see her bloom, you have to be able to be there. Take the means needed. In the end: take care of yourself, then take care of your couple, the take care of the kid, then take care of the extended family. That'll change as your parents grow older, but you're not there yet.

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    1. Thanks for the reply Anon (since I dont know your name)
      For books, I actually read a good one along the way called The Expectant Father.
      Luckily, mom and I are pretty good role models I feel. So hopefully we can be great parents for our child to look up to. You gave me lots to think about with your reply. Appreciate it!

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