Fatherhood 101: A Quick Cheat Sheet for Dads-to-be
The countdown has started and you’re getting nervous! Soon, you will be the latest dad in town, probably for the first time ever.
But there’s a problem; you don’t know where to start. There are some things, no matter how awesome you think you are, that you will want writing down as a reminder.
In this quick guide, we share with you a handy ‘cheat sheet’ for dads-to-be to help you avoid getting caught off-guard.
Ready? Let’s dive straight in!
Prepare for paternity leave
Paternity leave offers an excellent opportunity for dads to bond with their new babies. It’s also a time for mums to rest and recover from childbirth. You should make arrangements to take paternity leave before the baby arrives. If you work for an employer that offers paid parental leave, ask how much time off you can take.
If you’re self-employed or don’t have paid parental leave, talk with your partner about how you’ll manage finances during your absence from work. Where possible, consider working part-time so that you can contribute to household expenses while also spending quality time with your child.
Fathers who take paternity leave tend to have better relationships with their children later on in life than those who don’t take any time off at all.
Take out life insurance
The moment you find out that your partner is pregnant is a good time to take out life insurance. This policy covers a range of risks which include mortgage repayments, illness, school fees and other childcare needs in the event you pass away or become critically ill.
Ensure that any existing life insurance will cover the new child in case of your passing away. It’s also crucial that you put assets in trust for your children so that they aren’t at risk if something happens to you before they’re mature enough to manage them themselves.
Taking out life insurance for dads is the best way to stay at ease knowing that your children are protected should anything happen to you.
Take a tour of the hospital
Before your baby is born, one of the first things to do is take a tour of the hospital where he or she will be born. Here’s a short checklist to help you get started:
Get to know where everything is before labor starts. This way, if you have any questions to ask during labor, you’ll know who and where to ask them.
Get a tour from your doctor or midwife on the phone or in person. They can tell you what to expect when you get there and answer any questions during your pregnancy.
Get copies of all forms that may need to be filled out before admission as well as a list of supplies they recommend bringing in with you (such as food and snacks).
Learn to change diapers
Learn how a diaper works and how to change one on your own. It’s best to do this before the baby comes home from the hospital so you don’t have to worry about it when your child is fussy and needs changing.
Change your child’s diaper when it’s wet or dirty, no matter what time it is. Your baby will probably cry for a few seconds as you change them, but once you’re done, it should immediately stop crying and start playing again.
Get ready for childbirth
When preparing for the baby, discuss with your partner what you’d like to do when the baby arrives. Here are a few good questions to ask:
- What kind of birth do we want? Natural childbirth or cesarean section? What type of anesthesia?
- How much involvement will our friends and family have?
- How much support from family members do we need during labor and delivery?
Ask questions and research
Asking questions is an integral part of preparing for parenthood. They help you understand what’s going on with your partner. Plus, it shows her that you’re concerned about her well-being and doesn’t take her pregnancy for granted — something that will make her feel loved and appreciated as she welcomes this new addition into the family.
Don’t forget to do some research of your own! There are many resources available online to find information about pregnancy, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, child development, and more.
While these resources are not meant to replace advice from medical professionals, they can give you some insight into what’s happening with your partner’s body during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This will help you understand what she might be experiencing at different stages throughout the process.
To this end, we hope that you find this cheat sheet helpful as you navigate the tumultuous yet exciting waters of impending fatherhood. Of course, it’s not a be-all and end-all, but they’re sure to be handy when the little bundle of joy arrives. We wish you the best as you endeavor to be the best dad in the world.