Finding out that you’re expecting a new addition is one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking experiences a person can go through. If you’re a first-time papa, worries about being a good dad, on top of all the financial and logistical challenges, are the perfect recipe for panic.
While preparing to rebuild your entire life seems daunting, take a breath, check out these tips, and recognize that you come from a long line of people who got the job done.
This is one of the most worrisome jobs for first-time dads; but the good news is that babies aren’t all that mobile for the first several months, so you can get sockets covered and stairs fenced off over time. Before baby comes, focus on things like home improvements that won’t be feasible for a while afterward (painting, replacing carpet, etc.) If you’re preparing a nursery, don’t procrastinate painting—you want plenty of time for the room to air out.
Also consider the household chemicals you use—while exposure might not be harmful for adults, many cleaning products can be harder on infants (or expectant mothers, for that matter). If you have any reason to worry about mold, asbestos, or other “sick home” issues, be sure to get them inspected before the big day.
Whatever your mode of transport is, chances are it’ll need updating. First, clean and organize your car, removing any unnecessary items. Next, make a baby bag that you’ll keep in the trunk (any loose items can become projectiles in a vehicle), including:
- Baby wipes
- Cloth diapers (not only are they better for the environment, but they will be the ‘right size’ for much longer than disposable diapers)
- Diaper rash ointment
- A bottle (even if you’re breast feeding)
- At least one drop cloth
You don’t have to buy a new car seat, but never buy a used one from someone you don’t know—it’s hard to imagine that someone would endanger a child by selling a seat that had been in an accident, but it happens. If you don’t own a car, look into secure bike trailers, or a canopied infant carrier to prevent them getting sick on public transit.
3. Preparing future big brothers and sisters
It’s important that you and your spouse talk openly and regularly about your newest addition, and discuss plans, fears, and the excitement you’re feeling. If you already have children, wait a few weeks into the pregnancy, and then include them in some of your discussions about the new baby—let your excitement be infectious, and answer any questions they may have. Children will vary on their understanding or even interest depending on age and personality, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to “sink in”. Talk about how the new baby will be cute and cuddly, but also noisy and needy. Let them know you love them and that their new brother or sister will love them too.
4. Preparing for birth
If you’re not sure how you’ll afford childbirth, you’re in good company—but there are ways to make it manageable, both by going natural and by getting control of your finances as soon as possible. No matter how soon the baby is coming, the time to start saving is now. Recognize that pregnancy is expensive, and you’ll likely have to cut back on discretionary items for a while. Look into budget apps that provide savings recommendations and counsel, so you’ll be financially ready on the big day.
Whether you’re birthing in a hospital, on location with a mid-wife, or at home, you’ll need to consider what’s best for mom and baby, what you can afford, and what you’ll need to do to get ready. If you’re planning a home-birth, make sure you have a trusted midwife or doula picked out, plan out what you’ll need for delivery, and have a contingency plan for which hospital or clinic you’ll go to, and how you’ll get there safely in case of an emergency. Find the closest establishment you trust, and talk to them about what they offer and the best way to inform them if you have an emergency.
[About the author: Tara Wagner is a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She's fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver. Image: limaoscarjuliet]