I admit, the idea of fatherhood scared me. Here I was, 21, not much more than a kid myself, and finding out that parenthood was coming. Like it or not, here I come. When I was 18, a girlfriend had experienced a miscarriage, but I didn’t know that until my daughter was born. I often wonder what the child would be like.
So, here are some tips for new parents. As a father of five kids, I am not an expert. My kids have all survived, though I am not sure how.
- Babies sleep just fine in a clothes basket on the floor next to the bed.
- Formula can get expensive, whenever possible breastfeed. My oldest daughter was on Nutramigen, which was one of the more expensive kinds on the market. Plus breastfeeding is just better all the way around for the kid.
- Using the car to get a child to go to sleep is okay once in a while. But if you ever hope to sleep in a bed again, best not start this practice. As soon as practicable, work on getting the child to sleep at night when you do.
- Late night feedings can be an excellent bonding time with your baby, plus it gives mom a much needed break.
- Late night feedings are best done while sitting on a couch. (One night, after our second daughter was born, I was feeding her. Sitting in my recliner, I fell asleep. I happened to wake up after my daughter landed on the floor. Yes, I dropped her. I have felt bad about it ever since. Might explain why she is so prone to concussions now, but that is another story.)
- As your son or daughter grows, you will experience a love that will be unlike any other that you experience. You will experience joy and sorrow. You will laugh and cry. Don’t try to be your child’s friend. Be the parent.
- Ask for advice from friends if you don’t know how to handle something. But remember, any advice should be taken with a large grain of salt. Mileage may very.
- Call grandma up once in a while. Begin the conversation with “you remember when I used to do…. well, I am sorry.”
Best of all, enjoy this time with your child. All too soon the child will be in school. Then you will blink and they will want to borrow the car. Blink again, and they will be going off to college.
I think that I will put this in the Mental Health category. After all, in most cases, dads lose their mental health for a while after children enter their lives.