Are you ready to be a Dad? – Parenting Tips

News about pregnancy can put anyone in the state of shock whether it was planned or unplanned. Discovering that you will be someone’s parent is a life-defining moment. The emotions can range from joy to excessive panic. Even though you may have looked forward to this moment as a man. Below read up on some tips that could ease up the transition

Research, Research, Research

It is important to note that, although you may not be carrying the baby. You form a very special part in the pregnancy and birth of your little one. There will be a lot of changes with the mother as she may experience some pregnancy symptoms. These include heartburn, mood swings, and morning sickness. To show some support research to understand what the mother may be feeling or going through. When it is almost time for your bundle of joy to arrive do some further research on what to expect when labor begins and your baby is born. This will also help to process the emotions better and give a better memorable experience.

Make your health a priority

At the discovery that you will become someone’s father it unlocks a new level of responsibility and accountability. Your child will need you to take care of them but that does not mean that the parents must neglect their own health. If you happen to smoke, please quit it. It is to your benefit and your unborn baby. For the mother being exposed to smoke during pregnancy can result in heart defects for the baby. Review things like your diet and add nutritious food that will boost your immune and give you high energy which will be appreciated when the baby arrives and decides they will be awake and everyone is asleep.

Discuss Parenting

Here are some conversation starters to clarify the kind of parents you would like to become.
– What are your views on breastfeeding? (Support from the father can go a really long way)
– Will your newborn share the bed with you or will you train them to sleep in their own crib?
– Who will look after your little ones when both parents will be working?
Also, give yourselves as parents some grace because your plan may change as soon as the baby arrives. Things like breastfeeding may not go accordingly with your little one. They may battle to latch which may then mean introducing bottle feeding. The child care options may also be different from what you initially decided based on the child’s immunity or there may be a shortage of nannies.
It may also be to the benefit of the parents to start discussing things like discipline. Having open lines of communication helps parents to be on the same page which clears the air on lingering issues because the communication becomes healthy.

You are on the same team

Your little one has essentially linked mother and father for life. It is important to view yourselves as a team. Life may also happen and your romantic relationship comes to an end. That does not break the bond shared with your child and his/her mother. In order to raise a child who does not have to recover from their unstable childhood due to parenting differences and views. It is of utmost importance that the parents view everything from a team perspective and not competition.
Pregnancy brings up different changes to the female body. For, most of it, the mother may have to deal with morning sickness, exhaustion, and other ailments. Being a caring and supportive father you may need to step in and assist with some housekeeping, provide her with some nutritious food that they may be able to stomach, and simple phone calls to find out how they are doing.

Make the decision to do better- as a father

A survey conducted in 2019 revealed that approximately 60% of children in South Africa are growing up in homes, without fathers. Furthermore, their fathers are not present in their lives. If you as a man were fortunate to grow up with a great father you may want to give your children the same experience. It is unfortunate that in some if not most relationships children and their fathers are not always pleasant. If your experience with your father was really great growing up. It may cause some anxiety about how better of a father you will be to your little one. These are valid concerns. The choice really lies with you as a father on how you want to approach parenthood. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding your own fatherhood role models because this will help shape the memory of the kind of father you were to your children. You get to choose whether you want the good or bad memory.

Be Present

 Where possible, avail yourself of prenatal appointments just to find out about the baby’s progress. This will also give you an opportunity as a father to understand the development of the baby and what to expect from both mother and baby from a  medical professional.

Sex may not be what it used to be

Pregnancy will have an impact on your bedroom and romantic life. Your partner may not even want to engage in sex, you may be worried about how having sex could possibly impact the baby. This is where communication becomes very critical in order to avoid affairs. As parents, you are both undergoing a transition and it should be observed as such. When the baby arrives the setup may change. Things like quality time and intimacy may need to be redefined to suit your terms as parents.

Boundaries

A newborn baby can bring out the best and worst in people. Make your boundaries known to your partner and hear her out too. Decide on things like who will be present for the birth. In most African traditions there’s a time frame that people outside of the new family can come to visit to see the baby. The reasons given are due to respecting the baby. It is very normal to set boundaries that you both agree on as parents. This sets the tone for how you want to raise your family.

Laughter is still the best medicine

As much as the role of parenting is quite serious it should not kill off the fun that can still be enjoyed in life.  There will be moments where parenting becomes messy, exhausting but equally exciting and hilarious as your little one grows, so please don’t forget to laugh and enjoy it. Those special moments will have you recapping later in life and you’ll realize how much that was worth it.
Your little one will undergo a lot of different phases of life as they gain independence and sometimes this may make the parents feel like they are not needed or disconnected. It is unfortunate that the world is always evolving and that can look like working away from home. This should not make you question your role as a father you are simply providing for your family.
Listen to the below podcast to gain more insight on parenting mindfully.

Parenting has a lot of rewarding moments for example when your little one says papa or daddy for the first time. Or their first grip on your finger. Or them simply wanting you to pick them up so they can smother you with kisses. Fatherhood and parenting is a lifelong journey. Just remember that your active presence will be forever cherished by them and it will be the most valuable gift to yourself too.