New and expecting dads came to Lantern Brewing for an event to talk about Top 10 Survival Tips. During discussion and break outs, a lot of great ideas of what’s working were talked about:
- Get sleep
Get some earplugs to get the sleep you need. White noise machines are good for both the parents and baby. And when baby is asleep, keep your house at about a normal noise level – not too quiet.
- Swap hours of work time
Flexibility at work could mean working longer days 4 days a week, or coming in later or a lot earlier. Shifting when you are at work could help with the morning routine or dinner time. Could even be time for taking a family walk or having some dad time with just you and baby.
- Stay on the same page in front of parents and grandparents
So helpful when you are making decisions that might be different from others. Filter the unsolicited advice that comes as soon as you become a dad, and stand together with your partner when others share criticism or negative feedback.
- Meals and walks
Do what you can for dinner prep when you get home. It’s a hard time of the day for everyone, but dad making dinner (and maybe chopping extra stuff for lunch tomorrow) can be a big win for everyone. And offering to take the baby for a walk. This is time for dads to be with baby, it’s active and fun no matter the weather and can be a good – short or long – break for your partner to take a shower or rest.
- Listen to the nurses at the hospital
Show me that/watch me do it. Great advice from a dad who’s been there. Yeah, you both went to the baby care class, but until you are faced with a nasal aspirator and your baby’s tiny nose, it’s not the same. Get the hands-on help while you are there. And call the nurse line after you get home.
- Breastfeeding is super emotional
New dads can be surprised by all the stuff going on with this. Another dad said “it’s so important.” Lots of discussion about all of this and some suggestions to get a nice chair for nursing and take advantage of the lactation help at the hospital. Sometimes your partner may need support in asking for that help. You can call the hospital lactation nurses after you leave the hospital too.
- Lower expectations – ratchet down what you think you’ll get done during the day
It used to be you would make a mental list to pick up the cleaning, make dinner, catch up on work email, and go out for a run, but for the foreseeable future it makes sense to just accept that some things won’t get done. Prioritize sleep and the basics of taking care of the family.
- Ask for help & then throw money at stuff like housekeeping, food delivery, yard work
This is a good one. Whenever you can, say yes to people who ask if they can do something for you. Or ask them directly. After you have asked family and friends and taken them up on offers, you can order food, get things delivered, hire temporary help for anything and everything to get you through the first few months. Ask out of town relatives for gifts of this kind of thing too.
- Go bowling
New dads are exhausted with a new baby, lost sleep and at work. Take some time to go bowling with friends. It keeps you connected, and fun is important. And, taking the baby to a bowling alley might not seem obvious, but if you need to bring baby, the background noise can be a great lullaby while you roll a game or two.
- You have role to play
And that is very cool.