For all the joy and excitement of becoming a dad for the first time, the weeks leading up to it can range from excitement to nervousness, and everything in between.
Am I ready? Is our home big enough? Do I have enough diapers for the first week? These are all normal concerns for any first-time parent. But, as our three recent dads explain here, there really is nothing to fear. It can be helpful to consider advice from other new dads to help you face the questions and anxieties that you may have as you become a dad.
1. Declutter Your Life
“You don’t realize how much room a small baby takes up in your life–and in your home–until they arrive,” warns Paul H., dad of Lucas. “All the stuff you accumulate in the years leading up to your first child—it turns out so much of it is clutter you don’t need. The dumbbells I could never lift, the electric can opener, the life-size cardboard cutout of Bruce Lee … I prepared for parenthood by decluttering everything we no longer needed, to make room for the baby buggies we really did need. It felt liberating, but more than that, it felt necessary.”
2. Buy the Big Things
“Buying the baby essentials was a big thing,” says Craig G. “I think before that it had been kind of, ‘Whoa, I’m going to be a dad’. Then you buy a baby stroller and a crib and it suddenly hits home – I am going to be a dad!” However, he urges caution. “The list of things you could buy is never ending and will wipe out your bank balance. Plan carefully and buy only what you absolutely need and have space for.”
3. Do Your Homework
“Diapers, burping a baby, bottle feeding, carrying–these are the things all new parents have to learn before the baby arrives. Even if you only grasp the basics from a book, a little knowledge going in takes away the uncertainty,” says Craig G. father of Oliver and Jasmine. “Learning how to change a diaper was a big moment for me. I previously had no idea, because before I had kids. Why would I know? But then you learn the basics and realize how easy it is — within five diapers you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed.”
4. Stockpile Resources
“Personally,” says Rob J., dad of Isabella and Jessica “I don’t think you can be properly prepared for a baby coming into your life until you’ve stockpiled the essentials you’ll need for the first few weeks.” For Rob, this meant making a trip to the previously unexplored baby aisle in his local supermarket. “I heard stories of parents making a panic dash for essentials in the middle of the night, not knowing what they needed or where it was on the shelves. Take control by familiarizing yourself early and stockpiling enough supplies to last at least the first week or so.”
5. Safety-proof the House
“I’d say eliminating the danger lurking in my home was the single-most exciting thing about preparing to be a new dad,” says Paul. “Plug sockets, sharp edges, the fireplace, the stairs — as a parent you need to ensure everything is safe and poses no threat, particularly when they enter the crawling phase and become more mobile.” Luckily, the fixes are fast and easy. “When I say ‘eliminating the danger,’ what I actually mean is ‘buy a stair gate and put rubber edge and corner guards on everything,” says Paul. “But that doesn’t sound anywhere near as heroic!”