Hands-on Fathers: Top Ten Tips and Advice for New Dads, by Dads

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Nine months have passed and it’s just a matter of time before you step into uncharted territory – becoming a new dad. All of a sudden, you’re getting butterflies in your stomach.

“Am I ready?”

“How do I know if I am?”

“How do I know if I am not?”

Well, good news, daddies-to-be, makchic has your back.  We surveyed fathers from all over to bring to you the top ten tips for new dads, by dads.

1. Always look out for Number One

Your duty as a father has just started. You can be forgiven if the last 5 photos you’ve taken are of your newborn. However, dads – new and old – should always remember the person who bore the burden of carrying their babies for 9 months. Her body went through so many changes and such great pain to bring your little one to life. Yes, the MOTHER. We have talked to many dads, and they all agreed that new mothers need all the help they can get. Get them the best confinement food. Make sure that they are comfortable with their surroundings. Tan Kek Yoong, a father to a daughter, says a happy mother makes a happy family, and we cannot agree more.

2. Life is not a Social Media feed

As we live in the age of social media, our timelines are often filled with posts of cool parents doing cool stuff with their cool kids. We’re here to tell you to wake up and smell the soiled diaper. “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and life with a new baby as depicted by social media or television may not be 100% accurate,” says Aman Zenni, a dad of a daughter and son. Behind every post of a cute new-born baby is the never-ending cleaning up of liquids coming out from their mouths and bottoms. So, get ready to get your hands dirty, literally. Also, expect the unexpected. Saiful Adib, a father to a boy and a girl, says: “Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. So, just mentally prepare yourself for the worst for when it happens, you will think that it wasn’t too bad!”

3. “Sometimes you have to run before you can walk”

Speaking of getting your hands dirty, do not be afraid to get down to the nitty gritty. Reading parenting materials is one thing, but there is no substitute to learning something than to do it yourself. Cherish your first diaper change. Embrace the moment you measure the temperature of the bath water for the first time. If you’re unsure of how to do something, don’t be afraid to ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to parenting. Take pride in learning all you have to learn, whether it is learning how to cook nutritious food for your family, or partaking in an infant first aid course.

4. Love your child for who they are

As the saying goes, a child is a gift. Some couples do not have to wait long to know that they’re going to be parents. Some go through years and various treatments for a chance to become one. When your newborn eventually arrives, they are yours and yours alone. Azamil Izzat, a father to a daughter, tells us that each child is unique and that is the only thing worth celebrating. To compare your newborn to any other babies would be unfair to a few people, and especially your own child. Embrace what you have and know that your newborn needs you, not another dad. Contentment is a wonderful thing.

5. Establish credible sources of information

It can be a very chaotic and confusing time, as babies can fall sick and things can happen in an instant. A cold can progress into something more serious. Mummies may have their hands full, so dads can be the go-to researcher and troubleshooter in times of need. Identify one or two doctors (or doctor friends) you can call up quickly for advice, and subscribe to websites that are dependable and informative. Father of 3, Jasbir Singh says: “We identified a general practitioner for quick access and a reliable pediatrician. These really helped in giving us some direction on what to do or who to ask, and establish timelines for reacting to illnesses – so that we didn’t overreact.”

6. Make time for your loved ones

A newborn not only turns people into parents. They also turn some into grandparents, uncles and aunties. They all want a share of the happiness. Getting the family involved can be beneficial in the long run. You may need help in the future and who better to turn to than your own flesh and blood? Mohd Ezad, a father to a one-year old son, said “Plan and spend your time with your parents and in-laws equally. There’s no better joy you can bring and share with them than the sight of a grandchild.”

7. Invest in your child’s future

Mohd Azfar Ridhwan, a father to two daughters, tells us that 18 years might look like a long way to go but it’s never too early to chart a bright path for your child. Starting as early as possible will put your child in good stead. There are plenty of options out there. Some even provide additional savings of up to RM500, plus insurance protection. You might have a headache in choosing which one you would prefer now, but you will have the peace of mind later in your life.

8. Keep that pillow close by

One of the guarantees that comes with being a new parent is that they will be deprived of sleep. It’s very easy to argue with your other half about who had the most sleep. Instead of going down that route, be supportive of your partner. You can even discuss this before the child comes – set the expectation between yourselves, agree on an outcome and stick to it. It does sound silly – negotiating how long one should sleep, but it’s important that both parents take turns to be well-rested and alert when taking care of your newborn.

9. Keep your wallet thick

New parents tend to go crazy with buying cute dresses and attire. Sure, they will look cute but it’s entirely possible that they will outgrow those clothes before you even know it. A normal baby can double his or her birth weight within the first six months. Keep it practical as babies will not warn you when they wish to go to the toilet. One of our seasoned dads says the best time to buy nice, trendy clothes for your new child is at 11 months, as that is when the growth rate steadies.

10. Just enjoy it!

Parenthood is a natural passage of life.  Sure, the thought of having to raise your little one is daunting but it will be exciting at the same time. The things that you will go through with your new child will be stories you tell at family gatherings and weddings. So before and when they happen, enjoy the process, embrace the experience and cherish the moments.

Congratulations and good luck, dad!


You may also like to read: 

Hands-on Father: I Wrote a Letter to My Meddling Parents, Asking Them to Back Off

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Mohd Hakimi Jauhari Jamalus juggles the responsibilities of being an IT consultant with being a father to a son & daughter everyday. He always finds new things to learn when it comes to parenthood and is enjoying every second of it.