If you’re an expectant father, remember that there is no such thing as “ready”. Communication is everything. Discuss your concerns with your spouse before the baby is born. Get involved and attend as many parental appointments as possible; the understanding will calm you. Prepare whatever you can in advance. Connect with close male friends.
There is nothing quite as spectacularly precious and sacred as life. As men, the love we share for our families makes up a big part of that, and the sense of belonging brings with it a wonderful peace. However, when a new addition joins the family, it can quickly feel like reality has been turned upside down.
Feelings of doubt, anxiety, and uncertainty start to creep in – and this is completely normal! New adventures are meant to make you feel uncomfortable; otherwise, you won’t be able to grow as a man. As a father who has walked this road, allow me to show that you have always been ready.
Although you may be feeling anxious now, consider taking a step back and look at how far you have come and the joy that lies before you. It certainly won’t be easy, but it’s nothing you haven’t overcome already. Let’s give take a look at how you can achieve peace of mind.
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Expectant Father Anxiety – Advice For Men
Fatherhood will become your greatest gift yet. You will undoubtedly have to learn many new things in the years to come, but see them as opportunities to make a difference where it matters most, your family.
Men tend to have a hard time letting go of their liberties, habits, and self-imposed responsibilities that they genuinely enjoy. We enjoy having our friends over on certain days to watch the game.
As it were, taking care of a child will require that you make some sacrifices and adjust your priorities. If your priorities are not well balanced, most of the weight and stress will fall onto your partner, which will only add unnecessary strain.
Don’t shy away from help. Whether you seek help elsewhere or not, you mustn’t be too hard on yourself. When taking on parenthood for the first time, everyone feels frightened; in fact, many of us can feel like imposters. It’s also typical for new fathers to feel guilty about their feelings towards their children.
Before the baby arrives, new parents will most certainly want to spend some time with their close friends. Parents should also inquire about the friend’s life, as much as they want to chat about the forthcoming delivery. The aim is to let friends know that they are still treasured even though circumstances are changing.
It’s critical for spouses to talk about who will do what when the baby arrives. They should agree on who will change the diapers when or who will be waking up to feed the baby.
It’s okay to share these responsibilities 50/50, but other couples prefer to be more inventive, with dad handling the night duties and diaper changes on weekends.
Do Fathers Get Emotional During Pregnancy?
It’s not uncommon to feel aimless after the joy of finding out you are going to become a parent, even while your partner is pregnant or after they have given birth.
While your wife is shopping for pregnant clothing, attending baby showers, your life goes on as usual. Pregnancy and parenthood may appear frustratingly abstract since your spouse has an innate, physical connection to your unborn kid that you don’t.
With anxiety often comes depression, and it affects expectant fathers more often than you would expect. Depression in new fathers may result from a lack of sleep, meeting expectations, and a lack of social and emotional support.
Some males may find it difficult to adjust to changes in their home life and family structure. Furthermore, men are less inclined to communicate their feelings because of traditional ideas regarding parenting and masculinity.
Worries about more duties, financial strains, and job management can all have an impact on the emotional state of soon-to-be fathers.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Fathers?
Many soon-to-be fathers and even experienced fathers can feel alienated from the entire process leading up to birth. These signs and symptoms might be related to fears of losing your partner’s love and adoration once the baby is delivered.
Furthermore, some men may experience irritability, loss of libido, increased hours of work in an attempt to withdraw from the family, and feelings of isolation and loss of control.
The feeling of alienation makes the simplest action seem like an unclimbable mountain, but there is a way around it.
Make honesty your priority with your partner and have an open relationship with your partner. It may feel uncomfortable initially because you want to be sensitive to your partner’s feelings, take the initiative and discuss whatever is on your mind.
You may be surprised to find that your partner has also been carrying around concerns that is putting strain on them. It will certainly be very beneficial for your relationship and, more importantly, work out better for the child.
How Can Fathers Help Mothers During Pregnancy?
To eliminate any feelings of anxiety, there is thankfully a lot that you can do in preparation for the baby! You should consider:
- Schedule / Attend doctor’s appointments
- Review diets
- Prepare a hospital bag
- Choose a wingman
Make appointments for a physical examination and a visit to the doctor. It’s critical to discuss the progress of the pregnancy with your doctor. In addition, the doctor can help to analyze your current lifestyle and make any required modifications.
Diet, work, sleep, and exercise are the habits to keep an eye on. Your doctor will also go through any drugs you’re taking (if any) to make sure they’re not interfering with the pregnancy.
Listening is often overlooked, but it plays an essential part during pregnancy. Pregnancy and childbirth can be a lot to handle, and letting your partner know they can vent about upcoming procedures, fears, anxiety, or the annoyance at their puffy feat, will make all the difference.
Prepare a hospital bag for both yourself and your partner. Include the essentials like toiletries, a phone charger, slippers, lip balm, and snacks (better known as “comfort food”).
It never hurts to come prepared, and as the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
It’s a good idea to select a wingman who you can trust and rely upon in case of an emergency and when the delivery finally arrives. Talk to your partner and make a must-contact list with your family and friends’ email addresses and cell phone numbers.
Related Reading: Why Do Some Dads Faint During a Delivery? [HELPFUL TIPS]
Boy Or Girl: What Should I Do To Prepare?
So, you’re having a boy, or is it a girl? You don’t know yet? You worry too much! Your preparation will only slightly differ between having a boy and a girl. Baby boys and girls may look the same in the womb at first, but they are eventually distinguishable as hormones develop.
Ultrasound is the least intrusive method of determining your baby’s health and gender. While gender differences appear in the second month, ultrasound technology is not robust enough to detect them. When your kid is closer to 18 weeks old, they will be large enough for you to confidently distinguish the gender.
Some parents prefer spontaneity and prefer not to know the gender of their baby. There is no universal rule to knowing other than you and your partner’s preference. Of course, knowing beforehand will help you to be a little better prepared, but this question should be best discussed with your partner.
Whatever you decide, find the joy in it and strap yourself in for the ride of your life! If you choose to know the gender, you can select appropriately styled and colored clothing, toys, and paint or prepare the nursery accordingly.
How Can Fathers Prepare For After A Pregnancy?
The moment has finally arrived, and all your anxiety dissipates as you first gaze upon the innocence of what you’ve brought into the world – breathe it in deeply.
At this stage, your innate manly intuition will start to kick in, and you’ll want to make sure that the world in, around, and for your new child and their mother is flawless. To help this along, it will be a good idea to make a few practical preparations for peace of mind.
- Prep the Nursery Well in Advance
- Buy a Month’s Worth of Baby-Care Essentials
- Cook Two Weeks Worth of Freezer Meals
- Do Some Low-Level Baby-Proofing
Preparing the nursery will certainly be a part of the process for parents who have an extra room. It should, however, take place well before the baby is born. Parents who allow themselves enough time might use nursery preparation as a time to unwind and fantasize about the exciting life transition.
More importantly, finishing it as soon as possible means your baby won’t be sleeping in a room loaded with paint fumes and chemical off-gassing from new foam mattresses, window treatments, or wall decals.
Running out to the nearest medicine shop for wipes, diaper rash cream, onesies, burpees, formula, laundry detergent, dish soap, or lotion is the last thing a parent wants to do. Ensure that the supply cabinet is stocked with enough supplies to last a month. It will relieve some of the strain and provide more time for everyone to relax and bond.
For new parents, frozen casserole-related dishes are a lifesaver! Being gifted with food and supplies is a massive blessing, but it won’t last forever. At this point, fatigue will set in as responsibilities increase, and nobody may want to cook. Double up on meals in the weeks leading up to the baby’s arrival.
Related Reading: Feeling Trapped by Fatherhood [HELPFUL TIPS]
Help! How Do I Change A Diaper Or Prepare A Bottle!
Okay, so this isn’t quite a man’s Forté, but women haven’t received any formal training, either! Every new parent had to learn how to do it. Fortunately, there are hundreds of sources out there to choose from, with your parents as the first choice.
Otherwise, a huge variety of online tutorials will show you exactly how to do both of these and so much more. If you choose online tutorials, it may be best to view a man’s tutorial because they would have been through your struggles already.
That being said, let’s take a moment to discuss a few important pointers for preparing a bottle:
Ensure Cleanliness Of Bottles, Nipples, And Other Utensils
If your house is chlorinated, clean the utensils in the dishwasher or wash them in hot tap water with dishwashing soap before rinsing them. With well water or nonchlorinated water, you may boil the kitchenware for five to ten minutes or use a terminal heating method.
Read The Directions
For the formula type, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions without straying. If your baby drinks too much water, they won’t get enough calories and nutrients; if you give them too little water, the high concentration of formula might induce diarrhea or dehydration.
Warm The Refrigerated Formula
Formulas that have already been refrigerated do not have to be warmed up, although most babies prefer it at room temperature.
The easiest way to warm refrigerated milk is to place it in a container and let it simmer on the stove at low heat, making sure to rotate it occasionally.
Place Your baby In A Feeding Position
Support your baby’s head and cradle them in a semi-upright position. Pour the formula into the bottle so that it covers the nipple and the neck, preventing your baby from swallowing air while sucking.
Continue Reading: Becoming a Father At 40 [WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW]
No examination determines whether you’re ready for fatherhood, but rather fatherhood is the examination itself. Anxiety is sure to follow, as with every new experience. Embrace it as an opportunity to grow as a man and a father and provide for your new family.
One day you’ll be the one to whom young fathers will come for advice and trusted wisdom.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.