My Tips for Expecting Fathers
I want to help all guys that are expecting their first child by giving advice and things to do to help them be a great father.
I will share things I did from my experience that I found valuable in supporting my wife and welcoming my child.
You will learn specific actions to prepare for and things you will do as a father in your new adventure.
This article will take you about five minutes to read.
Are you (or someone you know) expecting their first child? As the father, do you know what to do?
My wife was getting advice from everyone. Doctors, nurses, friends, even strangers on the street!
Did I get any advice randomly? Nope.
The following are things I found to help my wife, my child, and I in starting this next stage of life.
- Car Seats
- What to Procure?
- Skills to learn (or will learn)
- Learning Resources
If you have anything else that helped you, please contact me and I’ll add it to this list.
Get a Car Seat and Learn How to Install It
One of the most important things to learn as an expecting father is how to install a car seat.
The car seat is essential as the hospital check the car seat installation when you leave your new family member. The hospital (and your wife) will expect to go home in a car, and in a car, the baby must be in a car seat. (Note: as far as I know, this is in the USA)
Which Car Seat?
There are numerous car seats on the market with different features and a wide range of price points.
Do not get the most expensive car seat.
Main reason: your child will only use their first car seat for about a year because it’s design for one year. With all the at home time in the first year, I found my usage of the first car seat usage to be low.
If you want to spend money on a car seat, spend it on the second one. Your child will use the second car seat for years as it’s designed for toddlers.
I will suggest for the first car seat, get one you can carry that can latch on/off from a base and onto a stroller while the baby is asleep.
Installing Car Seat
In the USA, the hospital will not discharge your wife and child if the car seat is not installed properly (or even if it’s not up to standard.)
First, buy a car seat, then to learn how to install a car seat properly, call your local police station or fire station and say something like:
I am expecting a child soon. I have a car seat and I would like to know how to install a car seat. Is there an instructor there I can get a lesson with?
All fire stations and/or police stations will have a certified instructor to teach you, for free. It takes about an hour and will be 1:1.
After scheduling your session, try to install the car seat yourself. It’s a good test of how well you can install a car seat with little knowledge and no experience.
Why goto a class when it’s installed properly?
First, the instructor will test your installation. Wouldn’t that be a disaster to have the car seat installed wrong and gasp something bad would happen??
Another reason is due to to numerous variations in the car that car seat manufacturers do not (or cannot) account for. Given there are new car models every year, car seats change “style” yearly too, it’s best to ask an expert.
Finally, nothing is better than getting the installation right for your car seat and your car. This confidence helps you, your wife, and your baby.
I took the lesson and it was enlightening. I barely installed it myself when following the manual. I also had questions about different placement, hookup, etc. that the manual did not cover that the instructor answered easily.
After getting a hands on instruction on how to install my car seat in my car, I felt more confident that I could even:
- take the car seat out and clean it!
- install the car set into a new car, like a rental car!
As a father, this is one of the most helpful things you can do and provide peace of mind to your wife. There are other things going on that you can’t be part of, own this!
Your next job as a soon-to-be father is identify sources to procure these items:
- special cleaning supplies
- anything your wife needs
With online shopping being able to deliver almost immediately, procuring is an easier job now if you choose to use online services.
Another is to have backup services, especially knowing hours of stores nearby that sell similar things so you can pick up at the last minute.
One thing I did not know is that there are newborn diaper sizes that are different than the numbered diaper sizes. Most manufacturers list diaper sizes from 1, which is not for a newborn.
Stocking up on newborn diapers ahead of time will help as the first day back as a family is crazy. This will give you buffer too.
With my first child, we were not planning to give baby formula, so we did not have any on hand.
I would highly recommend having a little baby formula on hand, just in case things do not go as planned.
We did this with my second child and feeding was a lot smoother as we had more options.
Special Cleaning Supplies
One cleaning supply I would recommend all expecting fathers to have on hand: “Zout Laundry Stain Remover”
This cleaning agent help keep white clothes white, even with the most organic messes.
This cleanser has saved me from throwing out gifted baby clothes.
If you are not going with the baby formula route, be sure to get hydration your wife will like and that you can stock in large quantities quickly. She will need it!
I went with a powdered hydration drink that does not have color. It’s easy to make, even in the dark while I’m half-asleep. ;-)
Your wife will also need things to recover from the birth. Work with her on what those are.
New skills soon-to-be fathers should pick up, or be willing to learn “on-the-go”:
- diaper changing
- bonus points if you can do it in the dark, in the middle of the night, half-asleep.
- I found this essential, especially the first months after birth. Look up “Happiest Baby On The Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp.
- Bonus if you procure items to make swaddling easier.
- how to bathe your child, it’s different for their first months.
Before your first child, take time to learn as much as you can. Once your child arrives, learning opportunities will be rarer (if ever!)
Go to your local library and get a library card because there are numerous resources that:
- you may like and use once
- you may hate and never want to see it again
- you may not even know about
Resources I found helpful:
- Happiest Baby On The Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
- Laugh and Learn About Newborn Baby Care by Sheri Bayles
- Baby Knows Best: Raising a Confident and Resourceful Child by Deborah Carlisle Solomon
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
- Baby 411: Your Baby, Birth to Age 1! by Dr. Ari Brown and Denise Fields
- and more!
I listened to book after book, after my child arrived, it was all a blur. These are the ones that stuck out to me.
As a new father, life will never be the same. Things that you can do to help you and your wife in this transition:
- Learn about baby care.
- Essential skills for the baby like diaper changing, swaddling, and bathing.
- Procuring items quickly and reliably.
- Learning all about installing the car seat.
The more you do, the easier the transition and things will get easier!
Finally, if you are an expecting father, congratulations! Contact me and I will send you one of my favorite baby gifts, free of charge.