As a new father about to experience my first Father’s Day in the hot seat, I feel it is about time I talk about my experiences as a first time dad to help ease the concerns of all the fathers-to-be out there.
First let me introduce myself. My name is Elliott Rosenberg and I am the father of a beautiful 7 month old boy called Charlie. I am also the director of Baby to Be 4D Ultrasound Clinic, a business that specializes in showing expectant families their babies in high definition images while still in the womb. This position affords me the privilege of meeting many first time parents to be as they enter the final trimester of their pregnancies. I am also fortunate enough to have the time to get to know these families as we talk about their lives and the upcoming transition to parenthood.
One thing I have noticed that is common to many expectant parents is that the questions and concerns are always the same. I have also noticed that many of these issues are raised by fathers, the majority of whom (including myself pre-Charlie) have had absolutely no experience with babies whatsoever. So what I am going to do is raise a few of these points and try to put everyone’s mind at rest.
Not all babies are difficult
We have all heard stories about couples who have tricky babies. They cry all the time, don’t sleep, don’t eat, don’t like people, don’t like noise; pretty much don’t like anything. While these examples are often spoken of the loudest and fill singles and non-parents with dread, it is important to realize that not all babies are like this. Charlie was born a good sleeper, only rising once a night from birth and then often sleeping through till after 9:00 am. He ate when he was offered food, only cried when hungry or sleepy, loved being held and cuddled by everyone. In fact, a snap poll of my wife’s mother’s group has shown that all their babies are exactly the same.
You will know how to quiet your crying baby
Many of the first time fathers I speak to raise the same question. How do you know what the baby wants when it’s crying. I give them all the same advice that was offered to me by one of my colleagues who is now actively involved in the raising of her grandchildren. “Dahl’s” she said, “it’s not rocket science.” There is a checklist of things newborn babies need. If the first doesn’t work, go to the second, then the next. They are (in no particular order)
Burping (if just ate)
Need attention / cuddles
Occasionally, none of these issues are causing the baby distress and you won’t be able to settle him. This happens to the best of us. If this is the case, just get out the pram and go for a walk. Hopefully the weather will start to get better soon or you may find yourself taking a leisurely stroll in a thunderstorm.
It won’t end your social life
For the first 4 months of Charlie’s life, we were able to do nearly everything we had done before. In some ways we were even able to do more as my wife no longer had to work in the city so we could frequently go out for lunch during the week as well. Until he got too big, we just put him in his pram, and would wander down to our favourite restaurants and bars while he slept, blissfully unawares as to what was going on around him. Recently, he has gotten too big for this and likes to spend his nights in his comfortable cot so we have just had to put more emphasis on going out for nice lunches and afternoon drinks instead of going out in the evenings. Last week we spent Sunday afternoon enjoying a seafood lunch by the beach and followed it up by entertaining some friends over drinks at a bar. We followed it up with a spot of shopping for the wife and were home by 6PM. Sounds alright, doesn’t it?
You will clean up nappies
Baby poop is not like adult poop. It doesn’t smell anywhere near as bad and despite all appearances, is very easy to clean up, usually only requiring a couple of wet ones. A few things to note however; if you have a boy, you will get peed on. It’s going to happen, you can’t avoid it, but it’s nothing a quick change of clothes won’t fix. Similarly, after a number two, as you are removing the nappy and cleaning up the soiled area, make sure you have a firm grip on baby’s feet. Otherwise, before you know it, a foot has slipped out from you grasp, directly onto a poop stained nappy, resulting in much angst and swearing from you. (Although anyone watching will be in hysterics.)
Pay careful attention when putting on a fresh nappy and I cannot stress that enough. If you have a boy, make sure the penis is pointing down. Otherwise when your pride and joy pees, it shoots straight up over the absorbent bits of the nappy all over his singlet clothes or pyjamas. Everyone makes this mistake once.
What did take me a while longer to grasp was the necessity to ensure the nappy is worn high enough on Baby’s waist. If it is worn too low, the elastic around the legs becomes slack, leaving holes where pee can escape, soaking Baby’s trousers and resulting in extra work for you. (Or in my case, my wife because I just couldn’t get the damn things right.)
It will affect your sex life
Sadly, this one seems true. However, with returning to work, wanting to spend time with baby, more extended family time, tired partner, lack of opportunity, and lack of privacy, more often then not, you’re going to be too exhausted to care.
All in all, the old clichés are true – that once you have a baby you will not be able to imagine your life without them. – nor will you want to! Really take the opportunity to enjoy the pregnancy because it is the true start of an amazing new chapter in your family’s life.
Elliott Rosenberg is the owner of Baby to Be 4D Ultrasound Clinic and proud father of 7 month old Charlie. These twin roles afford Elliott an insight into the concerns, hopes and feelings of expectant first time fathers and he is happy and excited to share his recent experiences. Baby to Be 4D Ultrasound Clinic is a new and unique business concept specializing in 3D/4D pregnancy ultrasound clinic with the sole purpose of giving you an unforgettable introduction to the newest member of your family