Fatherhood is a key rite of passage many men undergo in their lifetimes. According to the US Census Bureau, one-fourth of the 121 million men living in America were biological fathers to at least one child aged below 18 in 2019. Transitioning into fatherhood is an exciting time for most men, but it is no secret that the entire experience can bring the jitters. Nevertheless, you can prepare yourself to meet your new responsibility by following several helpful tips. Below are some snippets of advice worth following to prepare yourself for fatherhood.
- Get your finances in order
It is no secret that preparing for a baby involves numerous financial considerations since children are fundamentally expensive. Therefore, it is vital to get your finances in order as an expectant dad. You can begin by reevaluating your household budget to include extra expenses that you will incur when the baby arrives. These expenses should include childcare, healthcare, insurance, and general lifestyle changes. In addition, it would be best to redistribute your money and realign your short and long-term financial goals to accommodate your newborn’s arrival. You will also need to adjust your emergency savings, purchase a life insurance policy, and start saving for your child’s college education which costs about $35,720 per child yearly on average.
- Do your research
It isn’t uncommon for would-be fathers to feel like bystanders since they aren’t physically carrying the newborn. However, your involvement in the entire process is crucial. Consequently, do extensive research to learn many helpful things that can keep you involved throughout the pregnancy and birth process. For starters, you can devour many books written to help expectant dads navigate the challenges of fatherhood. Furthermore, you can join some helpful online groups to learn various pieces of information. Additionally, conduct research on some of the pregnancy symptoms your partner might be experiencing to understand and support them better. Also, it would be best to read on vaginal and cesarean births, diaper changing, baby handling, and breastfeeding. Finally, you can peruse this baby furniture buying guide to learn how to create the best nursery for your newborn.
- Discuss parenting with your spouse
Raising a child is fundamentally a two-person affair unless you become a single parent for one reason or another. As such, it is essential to discuss what type of parents you intend to be with your partner to prepare for fatherhood. You can discuss your plans for childcare, stances on breastfeeding, and whether both of you will be working to support your child’s upbringing. Additionally, talk about your parenting values to see whether they align, especially concerning parenting styles and discipline. Research indicates that about 46% of parents in America use the authoritative parenting style, making it the most popular approach to parenting over the authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved style. Therefore, find out whether your spouse is on the same page as you and how you will work to accommodate any differences in parenting philosophies. Also, discuss what traditions you would like to share, songs you would like to sing, and lessons you would like to teach your child. However, remember that these plans are theoretical, and you may have to rethink some decisions after your baby arrives.
- Get healthy
Everyone agrees that it is essential for expectant mothers to take excellent care of themselves before and after childbirth. However, the same is true for fathers since optimum health is necessary to keep up with the demands of parenting. Consequently, start focusing on your health before your baby arrives to prepare for fatherhood. It would be best to give up smoking since exposure to smoke during pregnancy can increase the odds of congenital heart defects in babies. Additionally, tweak your diet to include healthier choices and create an exercise plan to keep you in shape. Finally, schedule an annual physical exam with your family doctor to assess your current health and stay updated on all necessary vaccinations.
- Attend appointments whenever you can
Prenatal appointments are an excellent way to learn about and develop excitement about pregnancy and childbirth. You get to see your baby on ultrasound and deepen your understanding of what to expect by attending these appointments. For instance, you can ask your doctor questions and learn more about what your spouse is experiencing so you can understand them better. Attending appointments with your spouse is also a great way to support them and be involved in the entire process, so keep this in mind.