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6 Things No One Tells Dad With the First Baby

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Shortly after announcing your pregnancy, well-meaning tidbits of advice will begin rolling in. Some of the advice may be helpful, including sleep when your baby does. Other pieces of advice, however, may be less helpful. Then, there’s the advice or information that no one tells you. Whether you’re new to parenting or adding another to the family, we’re here to let Dad in on a few things that can help you get through your first year as a new parent.

Mom May Continue Experiencing Pain for Many Weeks After Delivery

The pain of labor and delivery is expected. Some people don’t realize that the mother may continue experiencing pain for many days or weeks after giving birth. Over-the-counter medications may help alleviate some of the pain, but some women may have to visit a postpartum pain management doctor. Recovery can also be harder since new moms can’t always get the sleep or rest they need with a newborn in the house. This means that you may have to step up more in the first few weeks after delivery.

Your Nights Won’t Just Be Sleepless

Most new parents expect to have a few sleepless nights with a newborn in the house. They don’t tell you that these nights may also be filled with fear and worry. You will likely call your doctor too much in the first few months. You may find yourself researching each little thing. Eventually, the fears will ease, and the nights will get easier.

Perfection Isn’t a Requirement

Despite all the magazines letting you in on the secrets of being the perfect parent who balances it all, it’s okay to not be perfect. You don’t have to balance it all, especially in the first few months of your baby’s life. It’s okay to skip chores and keep the clothes in the dryer longer. Eating carry-out or microwave meals for a few weeks or months is okay. It’s also okay to ask for help when you need it. Take your family and friends up on their offers, even if it means dropping dinner off a few nights a week.

Baby Blues are a Real Possibility

Postpartum depression is real, and it doesn’t mean that you’re any less of a parent. Frequent crying is also possible in the first few days or weeks after giving birth. A woman’s body is flooded with hormones, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they have postpartum depression. As a new dad, this is a good time to give the mom a break. Try to understand where her feelings are coming from and help her access the resources she may need. Even though you may not be subject to the same hormonal changes, dads may also experience feelings of sadness due to the rapid adjustments a newborn requires.

Feeding Your Baby is Best

Some people believe newborns should be exclusively breastfed in the first few months. Others believe that formula feeding is acceptable. Rather than join in on the debate, learn that either way is okay, as long as your baby is fed. Breastfeeding may offer some health benefits, but it’s not always easy or possible for new mothers to do. Feeding your baby formula doesn’t make you any less of a good parent. A formula diet also means you can help Mom feed when she’s sleeping or away from home.

Of course, you’ll want to choose the best formula for your baby to ensure they get the necessary nutrients. Some babies, like those born prematurely, may require a more strict diet. NEC baby formula lawsuits have been in the news recently because a few companies failed to warn parents of the risks to premature babies. Avoid feeding your premature baby certain Similac and Enfamil formulas. If you have already fed your baby one of the unsafe formula products and they are showing signs of necrotizing enterocolitis, consider talking with your doctor.

It Won’t Always Be Like This

The first year of a baby’s life can be difficult. When times are tough, remember that it won’t always be like this. You’ll learn as you go, and things will get better. Your baby will be mobile in just a few short months, and you’ll move on to baby-proofing the house. Shortly after, your child’s first steps and words will follow. Then, your child will spend most of their time at school making new friends. Before you know it, they’ll graduate from high school and start their new lives as adults. You’ll forget about all the long nights, and instead, you’ll be filled with cherished memories of their childhood.

Entering into parenthood is a big step. These tips and information are meant to help new dads adjust to this new stage of life. A little preparation and learning to give yourself a break can go a long way and help you enjoy your new title as a dad.

Jeff Campbell