Becoming a dad is, hands down, one of the most amazing, stressful and adrenaline fueled times of your life. Holding your new born baby for the first time is an experience that cannot be described with mere words. I love being a dad.
While there are a number of books that attempt to prepare you for the big change, there are some things they leave out or just can’t quantify.
Babies aren’t robots
You may find yourself thinking, “Why aren’t you feeding properly!?”. If your baby could reply, he/she would probably say “Dude, I’m 4 days old, cut me some slack. How useful are you 4 days into a new job?!”. Babies are like brand new iPhones. They turn on and that is about it. They need Apps, Contacts and your config. Cut the little one some slack.
No baby is perfect
While it would be nice if we were all genetic clones of perfection, this isn’t the case. Your little bundle of joy is going to have a flaw or two. Most of the time, the flaws are genetic traits from you, your partner or family. For my Son, it was:
- Club feet.
- Tongue and lip tie (Took 7 weeks to figure this one out).
- Burps like a Russian sailor. Okay, that’s related to the lip tie.
Fortunately, today, almost everything is treatable medically. Diagnosing issues can be difficult. I recommend getting a first, second and third opinion.
Dads are useless sometimes
There are times where you are going to feel useless. Changing nappies, burping, playing and cuddling are all important parts of being a dad. If your partner opts to breast feed, be prepared to feel completely helpless and useless at feeding time. You’ve run through the list of all possible reasons the little one is crying, except for hunger. At this point you hand over to mum. This is particularly difficult early in the morning when mum is fast asleep and needs to be woken (trust me).
Expressing with a bottle, or formula feeding will definitely remove this feeling. But ultimately, mum knows she is the milk truck and there is little you can do.
Babies are noisy
Sleeping next to a new born can feel like sleeping in the jungles of Jurassic Park, whilst wookies roar and swing from the trees overhead. You laugh, but my son sounds like a T-Rex gargling a wookie at times. The noises also have meanings. A Velociraptor noise, means he is probably pooping. The T-Rex sound equates to hunger.
It’s not you, you just aren’t mum
Babies know the difference between dad and mum. There will come a time where no amount of cuddling, rocking or cooing will calm your little one. 5 seconds in mums arms and all is well in the world. Don’t take it personally, it’s an instinct.