Tips & Tricks

How To Ease Those First-Time Father Anxieties

When I found out we were pregnant, I was beyond excited. But with every ultrasound and kick, I got anxious. It was the good kind of nervous, a delicate balance between excitement and the realization that I needed to get ready.

When I found out we were pregnant, I was beyond excited. This was something I had dreamed of. Having children is something I’ve always wished and hoped for, but I always found myself waiting for the right person and the right time. And when I met my son’s mother, the wait was over. And about a year and half into our relationship, we started working towards having a baby, and soon after, we knew the little one was on his way.

The Anxiety

But with every passing month and every ultrasound visit and heartbeat heard through the fetal doppler, the more nervous I got. It was a good kind of nervous, a delicate balance between excitement and the realization that I needed to get ready. I wasn’t worried so much about the obvious things such finances, health and life insurance or the baby shower and registry, but more so, the everyday and more obscure things such as safe sleep and SIDS, perinatal depression, safest car seats and strollers, picking the right pediatrician and more.

The Solution to the Anxieties

There are many things out there that that can help remedy some of those first-time father jitters; and I’m certain there might be more ideas out there than the ones I list below so don’t feel limited. What I share are just tips and tricks on how eased my anxieties.

YouTube and Google

The first and most obvious thing I did was look to YouTube and whatever online resources I could access with the time of my fingers. The answers to most of the questions you have are just an internet search away: you just have to be specific about what your searching for and mindful enough to ensure the information you find is coming from a reliable source.

However, if you aren’t careful, the internet can worsen your anxieties, so always do a little homework in order to make sure you can trust the information in front of you. The amount of homework you do really depends on the gravity or importance of what you’re trying to find: the amount of work you put into researching the reliability of a website that tells you the best books to read to your child might be different from the work you put into researching the credibility of a website that tells you what baby formula is best for your child.

What Digital Resources Did I Find Most Useful?

Dad Verb: For me, as  a dad to be, upYouTube dad video blogs are amazing. Its just fun and enriching to hear other dad’s stories and experiences. From how to be a supportive partner to your pregnant significant other to changing diapers, these channels offer great anecdotal insights. My personal favorite YouTube channel is Dad Verb and it was, and still is, a great channel to learn about day to day life with a child as well as a great place for product reviews.

What to Expect: This is a very reputable resource in the baby industry: from pregnancy to your baby’s first year, your baby registry to parent forums, What to Expect is amazing and is also accessible on so many different platforms: books, websites and apps.

Parenting and Baby Safety Classes

A lot of hospitals and communities offer expecting parenting classes and support groups. I signed up for 2 of them over the course of our pregnancy. The first was a Conscious Fathering class, and in it, I learned many practical, hands-on skills that I could immediately use to help bond and care for our new baby. These not only allowed me to be a more prepared father ready to meet the needs of my child, but also to a supportive and responsible partner to my fiance.

A lot of hospitals and communities offer expecting parenting classes and support groups. I signed up for 2 of them over the course of our pregnancy. The first was a Conscious Fathering class, and in it, I learned many practical, hands-on skills that I could immediately use to help bond and care for our new baby. These not only allowed me to be a more prepared father ready to meet the needs of my child, but also to a supportive and responsible partner to my fiance.

The second class I took, alongside my fiance, was am infant CPR and baby safely class. I learned a lot, from injury prevention methods such as baby proofing the home to how to save you your child’s like when they are choking or not breathing.

There are definitely a lot of parent classes out there that try address the spectrum of concerns and anxieties faced by expecting parents, you just have to find the ones that are best for you and attend.

Reference Books!

I am one person that still loves to have a physical book on hand. Something I can grab from my book shelf, scan the table of contents, flip to a specific page and find the answer to anything I’m looking for. Although the internet, Apps and notes from the classes you took will always be helpful, having a good parenting book on hand, can be of immense value. My two go to books are The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year and What to Expect: The First Year.

Friends and Family!

The good news is, you’re not the first human being to have a child, and so chances are you know quite a few people in your circle of friends and family that walked that same journey you have just embarked on. Lean on the ones you trust for advice when you need it. And sometimes you might even get advice from them when you didn’t ask for it: never be offended, you can chose to take it or leave it.

Pediatrician

Your pediatrician will arguably be one of the most important people in your life. Chose one wisely: ask friends and family, Google some in your area or ask your OBGYN for recommendations. And after we had our little shortlist, we did a few meet-and-greets before we finally found the pediatrician we liked.

Pediatricians are professionals, and the best ones will never be thrown off by your anxiety-inspired emails and calls, questions and sentences that start with “I read online that …”. They will always address your worries and concerns. Pick the right pediatrician, and that in and of itself will ease some your anxieties when it comes to the health and care of your child.

The Anxieties Still Come and Go!

These are just a few of the many tips and tricks of how I remedied some of those anxieties that came with stepping into fatherhood. And with each new cough and sneeze, throw up and rash, some of these anxieties surface again. And in those moments, I lean on any and all of the above for peace of mind when needed, and action when required.

Sincerely,

This New Dad,

Kwapi

Subscribe, follow and journey with me into parenthood.

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