You can absolutely do this. Your baby — and your baby's mother need you to be involved. From Day One.
Figure out ways you can help, especially in the first few weeks, that will give mom a break to rest and recover. Team work is key. Take turns with feeding the baby; if your wife plans to breastfeed, plan to pump so that you can give baby a bottle. Take over as much of the cooking and cleaning as you can, master doing the laundry, there will be mountains of it the first few months. Together with your partner figure out where you can best pitch in to make things easier for the both of you.
Step up and be the designated diaper changer, yes, sometimes its gross, but get used to it. Your kids are going to do some gross stuff far beyond babyhood. You can do it. Its a necessity, and to be a self sufficient dad who's not constantly needing mom to hold your hand through raising your baby, its an imperative skill.
Swaddle skills are important… It's like making a little baby burrito! Swaddling helps your baby feel secure and adjust to life outside the security of the womb. Over time you may even be able to get a little advanced with it. Your baby will thank you and you'll be rewarded with more peaceful nap times.
Learn how to hold your baby, they are fragile but don't be afraid. Yes it is similar to holding a football, but not really. It is most important to support their head. You can do this with your hand or by supporting it with your arm. Above all relax, babies can sense when you are tense and it may cause them to squirm. This is an important part of your bonding time with your child.
Establish a routine for leaving the house with baby. Create a physical and mental checklist. Write out everything you need to have with you to take care of the baby. Keep a stroller by the door or in your car; pre-pack a diaper bag with things like bottles, diapers, wipes, a hat, extra clothes, sunscreen, whatever, so its ready to go at all times. This will reduce the amount of rushing around you'll have to do before leaving and you'll be less likely to forget things. Speaking of diaper bags, get one you won't feel self-concious about carrying around. They make a lot more these days that a made specifically for dads. Go through the checklist before you go out, it will only take 30 seconds, but will make getting out so much easier.
Practice installing and removing your carseat. It can be a little confusing especially when you are trying to pay attention to your baby or when your nerves are frazzled after a long night with your newborn. Get good at it cause it is important that your car seat is installed correctly — its a matter of safety.
There won't be many experiences you will have in your life that will be as simultaneously frustrating and rewarding as having a child. The first few weeks can be trying, but don't get discouraged.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Ask family and friends for advice when you you're not sure how to handle a situation. But don't let yourself get so stressed out that frustration makes you lose your way.
Dude, you Made a New Human! Pat yourself and your lovely partner on the back and go enjoy your new baby!
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