Preparing for Fatherhood – The Ultimate Guide

Preparing for fatherhood can feel like a daunting challenge.

Even though you feel pure joy and can’t wait to meet your baby, you also feel nervous and perhaps a bit overwhelmed. Especially if you’re a new dad. Though men who are already dads will go through the same range of emotions.

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.

This guide will help you in preparing for fatherhood, supporting your wife, and getting yourself ready to be a great dad when your new baby arrives!

Allow yourself to feel the range of emotions

Whether it’s your first or fifth child, you will never forget the moment you find out you’re going to become a dad. It’s the greatest news you’ll ever receive.

And when you first hear your baby’s heartbeat, man, there’s nothing like it.

But there are also going to be times when you feel nervous, scared, overwhelmed, and underprepared.

That’s okay and totally normal, especially as you get closer to the due date.

This is a completely life-changing experience. And even though it’s the best experience you will ever go through, it’s still a complete shift from how your life has been to this point.

Accept that and deal with all of the emotions – good and bad – as they arise.

Takeaway: Preparing for fatherhood comes with a wide range of emotions. Let yourself experience them all.

Support your wife

While becoming a dad is a huge life change for you, it’s going to be an even bigger change for your wife. After all, she is the one who has to go through an immediate change.

It’s not an overstatement to say that the most important thing you can do throughout this is to support your wife during pregnancy.

This means being there for her emotionally and physically.

Offer to help out around the house and take on more than your usual share of the household chores.

Listen to what she has to say and spend quality time together.

Just be there for her.

And remember, there will be times when she doesn’t want to talk about anything related to the baby or pregnancy.

Plan a date night so that you can do something fun as husband and wife. Focus on keeping your great relationship going strong. Take advantage of the time you have together because the first few weeks after the baby’s arrival you’ll both be entirely preoccupied.

Takeaway: While you’re preparing for fatherhood, your wife is already experiencing motherhood. Make sure you support her needs throughout and following her pregnancy.

Physical fitness

First time dads often overestimate the amount of free time they’ll have once their newborn arrives. But once the sleep deprivation kicks in, they realize they might not have as much personal time to themselves as they thought they would.

Because of this, you need to make sure you are either staying in or getting yourself into good shape right now.

Cut out processed and junk foods. Fuel your body with healthy foods and nutrients.

Find a way to get in some daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Going for a 20-minute walk five days a week and doing bodyweight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, planks, air squats, etc.) will do just fine.

By developing this routine now and figuring out ways to sneak in some exercise, not only will you be healthier and have more energy your child arrives, but it will be easier to continue with these great habits even after your baby is here.

Plus, go do things you’ve been putting off like getting your annual physical. You know you need to do it. So use your pending fatherhood as a good excuse to give your family doctor a call and finally make the appointment.

Oh, and can’t forget this one: get as much sleep as possible!

Takeaway: Part of preparing for fatherhood needs to be preparing your body and health for what’s to come. Take advantage of this time to develop good routines and habits that you can stick with once the baby arrives. A good dad is a healthy dad!

Parenting classes

Whether you’re a first time dad or need a refresher, taking a parenting class or two is a great way to build self confidence and pick up some of the practical tips you’re going to need along the way.

Anecdotally, my wife and I went to several parenting classes. I was amazed at the amount of stuff I learned. I think the other fathers in the group would agree.

  • What to expect during the birth experience.
  • Become a pro at changing diapers.
  • How to properly warm breast milk.
  • Ways to support your wife while she’s breast feeding.
  • How to go about baby proofing the house.
  • Signs to look for in postpartum depression.
  • What to look for in an infant car seat.

Trust me, while you might go into this thinking it’s going to be boring and you won’t learn anything, the exact opposite is true. Parenting classes should be high on the priority list for new parents / new moms / new dads!

And while parenting classes are the best way to do it, if you can’t make it to one just remember this important life hack: YouTube is your friend.

If you ever need guidance on how to do something, someone has already made a video on it!

Takeaway: Preparing for fatherhood means learning a lot of new skills. The first few weeks after the baby arrives is not the time to start learning all this stuff. And since not everyone can make it to a class, don’t forget to use resources like YouTube.

Supplies

Now that you’re a father to be, your shopping habits are about to be drastically different.

Even if you’re fortunate enough to have an incredible baby shower that leaves you without any room to spare in your supply cabinet, it still might be just enough to get you through the first few weeks.

And it’s not just because of constant diaper changes, but all of the baby care essentials you’ll need. Stuff like:

  • swaddles
  • onesies
  • lotions and creams

And because you’ll be doing a lot more dishes and laundry, you can’t forget about even the basic stuff like dish soap and laundry detergent.

While you might not like supporting The Empire, one of the best things new parents can have is a subscription to Amazon Prime and use auto-deliveries.

Save yourself a trip to the store and make sure you’re fully stocked up on the things you’re going to need. (Plus it’s a great way to start saving money.)

Additionally, you’ll need to make sure you spend time picking out quality baby furniture, an infant car seat, changing pads, crib sheets.

And things for baby proofing: TV mounts, child safety locks, outlet covers, etc.

Takeaway: Preparing for fatherhood means a significant change in the things you’re buying. Make your life easier by keeping a running list of stuff you need and automating purchases and delivery. And if you have the means, spend a little extra on quality baby furniture.

Reach out to others

Luckily for you, you’re not the first dad to be and there are other dads – your own dad, other family members, friends – who will have plenty of great advice.

You just have to reach out.

Whether you need help putting together a crib, need advice on the best baby wipes, or just need to vent to someone about having to run out to the store at 2am to get your wife pickles… whatever it is don’t be afraid to reach out to other fathers for help and guidance.

Takeaway: Men are notoriously bad at reaching out and asking for help. But becoming a new father is a big deal that impacts more than just yourself. Pick up the phone and reach out.

Great books to read

I’m not going to go into detail on each of the books listed below. I’ve read them all and found some benefit in each.

Before your new baby arrives, check out one or two of these. It will be worth your time.

Conclusion

Preparing for fatherhood is life-changing and comes with a whole host of emotions.

With all change, there will be some stressful times and you’ll feel overwhelmed.

But by using this time to support your wife, fix your health, take a parenting class or two, and get the furniture and supplies you’ll need, you’ll feel much more confident and ready to go once the big day comes.

And throughout the entire process just remember: once your baby arrives, you’ll be the happiest person on the planet.

Leave a Comment