Those new to fatherhood can vouch for it being an overwhelming experience, filled equally with joys and excitement as well as the not-so-welcome anxiety and apprehension. However, it is possible to somewhat prepare for the challenges that parenthood unleashes by anticipating what you need to be ready for. In this article, we outline the main causes of stress you need to be aware of and address after welcoming a newborn into the world.
Paternity leave is often insufficient; a measly two to three weeks if you are lucky. Not being able to spend enough time with your partner and newborn may weigh on your mind as you cope with the regular stress of a full-time job. Keep in mind that you still are playing a supporting big role by continuing your responsibilities at work. Try to spend as much quality time at home during non-working hours by limiting overtime and social engagements.
Babies need round-the-clock attention, from feeds and burping to diaper changes and soothing. New dads can often struggle to get used to caring and tending to their little one’s every whim. After all, it can be tiring in addition to regular work and household chores. Trying to understand their wants and needs from cries and fussing can also be tricky. Be prepared for a tough few months ahead but know that your baby will soon fall into a regular routine and you will get better at reading their cues and cries.
Lack Of Sleep
In the first months, getting a good night’s rest is almost impossible. This can really take a toll on your day, especially if you are working full time. Being sleep deprived can lead to crankiness, which you may feel like taking out on those close to you. Acknowledge that you are sleep deprived and try not to blame those around. Get rest whenever you can - even a short nap can help.
Having a baby doesn’t come cheap. From the cost of delivery to doctor’s appointments, clothes, diapers and toys, the bills adding up can be worrying. If you find yourself overwhelmed by worries about your financial status, speak to friends or family members about how to manage money better now that you have a child. Going to a financial planner can also help put things in perspective and your mind at ease.
Lack Of Intimacy
When your newborn makes their appearance, chances are that your partner’s recovery, along with sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion, can make it harder for the two of you to connect. Don’t feel disheartened as you get used to this new phase in your lives. Instead, try to schedule time out to spend alone together, even if it just a 20-minute stroll or talking over a cup of tea.
Getting Involved In Your Baby’s Life
Being educated and up to date on your baby’s needs can empower new fathers with a sense of doing and accomplishment. Make sure you actively participate in caring for your child, as well as spend time playing and bonding with them. Be on top of doctor’s appointments, immunization schedules and healthcare needs. For example, being present when your child is getting their vaccines can help you learn how to soothe them as well as take some of the pressure off your partner.
Being a new parent is no doubt stressful so remember to take care of yourself. Make healthy food and lifestyle choices that will help you feel more energized so that you don’t feel too rundown with the added day-to-day activities and stress. Being mentally prepared and accepting of the host of changes that lay ahead is also a great way to make peace with your new situation and really enjoy fatherhood.