15 Essentials Things To Include On A New Dad Checklist
Preparing for fatherhood feels like an overwhelming task, but it’s an incredible, unique period of your life that throws surprises at you left, right, and centre. No matter how many dad checklists you read through, how much advice you take in, or how many times you scour the internet for that holy grail cheat code, it is impossible to cover it all.
Luckily, we’ve covered you with the prep work for your new dad checklist.
Venture Into Your Old Toolbox
Unfortunately, baby furniture does not build itself, although it would be pretty cool if it did. The last thing any aspiring handyman wants is building baby furniture while running on very little rest. The task is savage enough after eight hours of regular sleep, but it’s pure torture for a new parent after a night of your newborn baby testing its lungs.
After completing this mammoth task, there is a real sense of achievement, so stop and take a little time to appreciate your craftsmanship and constantly remind your partner what an incredible man of many talents you are.
Learn The Puzzle That Is A Baby Car Seat
The right infant car seat is essential for every aspiring father. The hospital will release your child if you show nurses you can put a child in an appropriate car seat. Do your research, but more than buying an infant car seat is required.
You also need a good game plan for fixing the car seat securely and ensuring your baby is strapped in safely. Prepare to spend some time in your car, in awkward positions, attempting to set this up safely. Make sure to read the instructions manual, not do what most of us usually do, and shrug them off while tossing them in the bin when the package arrives.
Plan The Labour
Yes, your partner technically does all the work during labour, but you will play a massive role too. You are her right-hand man in that labour ward and potentially have to make big decisions on the arrival of a child.
Sit down with your partner and discuss how you want the birth. Does she want a water birth? What about pain relief? Does she want you to hold her hand or put a cold flannel on her head? This information needs to be on hand at a moment’s notice. Regarding pain relief, remember that it is ultimately her decision. She is doing all the hard work, and some pain relief may be precisely what she needs to get her through those contractions.
However, your role in that labour ward could mean that the prescribed pain relief plays second fiddle to your incredible, calming, soothing self, and you’re exactly what she needs to get through the labour. Refrain from expecting gratitude afterwards, as she will be far too busy.
Reassess Your Sleeping Habits
The NHS recommends having your newborn in your room for the first six months, so acquiring a bedside co-sleeping cot is a good idea. It’s also an excellent time to discuss where the baby will sleep. On the ceiling? On your side? On her side? At night, it’s a team effort and not just your other half getting up every 2-3 hours for the feed, so be prepared to chip in and cut short some of your sleep, even if it’s just keeping her company.
These are not decisions to be made after your baby arrives when you’re not getting much sleep, and your partner is breastfeeding most of the night. Discuss this with your partner so you are aligned on the baby’s sleeping arrangements and prepared for those tiring nights.
Get To Grips With Handy Baby Gadgets
Hundreds of nifty gadgets are available to save you time with a new baby. Usually, it’s best to avoid getting too obsessed with the camera that measures the baby’s breathing or the mattress that rocks the baby to sleep. Still, there are some decent products out there that will genuinely make your life easier. Baby showers can bring some handy equipment, so if you have a gift list, get ready to fill it up with the below.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, here’s a list of our top picks to make your life easier when the time comes:
- Prep Machine
- Basic Baby Monitor
- Nappy bin
- Pregnancy Pillow
- Travel cot
- A Steriliser
- A zippered sleeping bag
- Sleep nest
- Noise Machine
- Snot sucker
- A good bottle cleaner
In my experience, I had all these items, and they proved their worth multiple times over. We still use some of these items today, a year on. Especially the pregnancy pillow, which I’ve now taken ownership of and is the cosiest thing I’ve slept on.
Get In The Kitchen
The weeks before your baby’s delivery are a great time to start thinking about doubling up on meals. Try and follow the rule: eat half, freeze half. This is a great way to be prepared, and when it’s time to make a sleep-deprived post-baby meal, it’s just a matter of preheating the oven and setting the timer or chucking it in the microwave for you to eat, not the baby.
Friends and family will usually help support you and your partner with this, but you can’t solely rely on this, so dust off that hilarious apron and get your peachy backside in the kitchen and cook two weeks’ worth of meals cooked. Your future self will thank you.
Get Some Decent Treats for Your Hospital Bag
Labour lasts ages, so having some tasty treats for you and your partner and some comfort items is essential when sitting in a hospital for hours, days, or weeks waiting for that little person to appear.
When my son was born, I packed early and prepared multiple bags of snacks and drinks. Usually, once the labour starts, your partner will go off those tasty treats, which leaves them all for you. I put on an extra stone that day, which was worth it.
Pillows, blankets, and comfortable clothing are all good choices, as are a couple of clean shirts and fresh underwear, as the labour ward can get incredibly warm and sweaty, and you don’t want to be grossing the hospital staff out with your pungent aroma.
Awareness of these points will at least give you a headstart with your dad checklist and a start to becoming a new dad. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg on your pregnancy journey.
In addition to the prep work we’ve covered for your new dad checklist, there are a few more essential items and considerations to remember as you embark on this incredible fatherhood journey. While it’s true that every dad’s experience is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, here are some other essential things that can help you navigate this new chapter of your life:
Stock Up on Nappies and Wipes
Your little one will undergo countless nappies and wipes in their early years. Ensure you have an ample supply at home, in the car, and in your changing bag. It’s always better to be overprepared in this department.
Attend a Birthing Class
Consider joining your partner in attending a birthing class. It will provide valuable knowledge about the birthing process, comfort measures, and how to support your partner during labour. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn and bond as you prepare to become parents.
Create a Baby First Aid Kit
Accidents and minor injuries can happen, so having a well-stocked baby first aid kit is crucial. Include items like plasters, a thermometer, an infant pain reliever, a nasal aspirator, and any prescribed medications your child may need.
Baby-Proof Your Home
As your little one grows, they will become more mobile and curious. Take the time to baby-proof your home by securing furniture, covering electrical sockets, installing safety gates, and removing any potential hazards within their reach.
Invest in a Quality Baby Carrier
A suitable baby carrier can be a lifesaver, allowing you to keep your hands free while bonding with your child. Look for one that is comfortable for you and your baby and correctly supports their developing spine and neck.
Amidst the excitement and responsibilities of being a new dad, it’s crucial not to neglect your well-being. Make self-care a priority by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, finding time for hobbies or activities you enjoy, and seeking support from friends, family, or important parent groups when needed.
Parenthood is a continuous learning experience. Take the time to educate yourself on various topics like infant development, nutrition, sleep patterns, and parenting techniques. Books, online resources, and parenting classes can all be valuable sources of information.
Time flies, and your little one will grow faster than you imagine. Invest in a good camera or use your smartphone to capture precious moments and milestones. Create a system to organise and store these memories, whether it’s through photo albums or digital platforms.
Good luck on your journey into fatherhood! Embrace the adventure, cherish the moments, and know that you have the support of your friends and essential parents around you. Congratulations on this exciting new chapter in your life.