Ten Suggestions for New Dads
Soon to be a father? Here are a few tips from
some real experts: other dads.
By Gordy Slack
Reviewed By Craig H. Kliger, MD
- When the going gets tough, take a break. There will
be moments when the world conspires to make you mad: when you haven't slept,
the baby is crying, the phone is ringing, the milk is boiling over, and your
partner is cranky. Turn off the stove, go outside, and take as many deep
breaths as you need before re-entering the fray.
- Make time with your family a priority. When you look back on your life
years from now, you won't regret not having worked longer hours. What you might
regret is not having spent more time with your kids. Time spent playing on the
floor or watching your baby sleep is time well
spent. Enjoy this great excuse to hang around and "do nothing."
- Play a lot. Nothing is better than fun for
dissipating tension and for forging trust and good relationships with babies.
- Take advantage of your baby's portability. Don't be
afraid to take your baby out with you. Stimulation is good for kids, and
babies make great adventure companions. Besides, you'll get lots of attention,
- Be extra patient, supportive, and communicative with
your partner. Giving birth can be traumatic, and hormones continue to ebb and
flow after childbirth. If there is ever a time to be understanding of your
baby's mom, and available to her, too, this is it.
- Try not to schedule too many things in one day.
Everything takes longer with a baby involved.
- If you have a medical question about your baby, call
your pediatrician, but don't panic. Babies are sturdier than they look.
- Talk to other new fathers about your experience and
theirs. Mothers' groups abound, and women love them. You don't need to call it
a men's group, and you don't have to hug. Call it your "guys' night out."
- Take care of yourself. Keep an eye on your driving,
your diet, and your risk-taking. Your baby needs you for a long time. Being a
healthy and happy dad is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your kids.
- Follow your instincts and intuition. Listen to the advice of others, read
about parenting, consult the experts, but consider yourself the authority on
your child. No one will know your baby as well as you and your partner do.
Gordy Slack is a science and health writer based in Oakland, Calif. He is a
columnist and contributing editor at California Wild, the science and natural
history magazine published by the California Academy of Sciences. He is also the
"veteran" father of two young boys.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/29/2005