When a newborn baby comes along, physicians, friends, and family rightly focus on the health of the mom and baby. However, it’s also important to make sure that dads get the attention they need. From stress over looking after the baby to lack of sleep due to nights spent consoling a tearful child, there are all kinds of health problems that can creep up on dads if they’re not careful. Here are some health problems to watch out for if you’re a father – and some tips on how to make sure that you can combat them.
Bad sleep patterns
Sleep is like a miracle prevention medicine for many different illnesses, and when we have enough good-quality sleep, we’re much less likely to develop all kinds of health problems. Of course, sleeping well is easier said than done when you’re a new parent as your child is likely to wake up during the night, but with a little planning ahead, it’s possible to get enough. Could you consider speaking to your partner about taking turns getting up so that the load is spread fairly, or could you even build a nap time into your lunch break in order to catch up?
When you’re a parent, you’re very busy – and that can sometimes mean putting a ready meal in the microwave rather than cooking a delicious dinner packed full of vegetables. The consequences of this for your health can be severe, though, and sometimes you may find yourself feeling more tired or sluggish because you don’t have the nutrition that you need. Undergoing nutritional tests for vitamin deficiency related problems, then, is a good idea, as it’s only a nutrition test that can say conclusively whether or not you’ve got an issue.
Mental health issues
While there have been plenty of studies done into how mothers may face issues such as postnatal depression, less is perhaps known about how fathers can suffer psychologically during post-baby life. Dads can also experience issues such as isolation and anxiety, and so it’s wise to get checked out if this becomes an issue. Having someone to talk to can also help; if you’re feeling this way, consider speaking to your buddies who are also dads. You’d be surprised at just how common these problems are.
Lack of exercise
Before you became consumed by looking after your little one, it’s probable that you did more exercise. Whether that came from playing sport or was down to getting out and about in nature a bit more often, it’s likely that you got more sustained, healthy exertion. However, being a dad doesn’t mean that you have to give up both the health benefits and enjoyment you get out of exercising.
In fact, it could even be a reason to get out and about more. Consider investing, for example, in a sling for your baby so that you can walk anywhere you want to go and take your baby with you. That way, you can send your baby off to sleep while you enjoy the best that the countryside or the parks in your area have to offer. It’s a double benefit!
Not taking breaks
A surefire way to find yourself feeling frazzled both mentally and physically is to keep going every single time and never stopping for a moment. Sure, there’s a lot to do as a dad, but you need to make sure that you get some rest. Even if it’s just turning away and counting calmly to ten when your child won’t stop screaming, it will benefit you and give you a chance to refresh.
Putting too much pressure on yourself can lead to all kinds of problems. Not only can it mean that you make bad judgments in the present on everything from safety to bedtimes, but it can also mean that you become run down over the long term – and this is not something that will benefit either you, your partner, or your child. Invest in yourself and your future health by taking some breaks both short and long, and everyone will thank you for it.
Being a parent can be a pretty exhausting time no matter what gender you are, but for many dads, it can sometimes seem like getting the health care that you need is out of reach. By focusing on making small changes to your sleep patterns or ensuring that you get tested for major problems, though, you can prevent issues from cropping up and make sure that you can look after your family to your full potential as a healthy, happy man.
Photo by Naassom Azevedo