We love hearing new Dads sharing their experiences of becoming fathers for the first time, and so this post from Darren at Ask Dad was a real treat.
And it sounds like a lot of important lessons have been learned in just two short weeks…
Well I’m a Dad of two weeks, so I’m clearly an expert now
I’m officially a 2 week old daddy. The first week was one spent in hospital and the second week at home with my fabulous little son Nathan. I have seen a brand new side to my wife and now a mommy, but I’ll write about that another day. Today I’d like to share with you 10 things I have learned about being a dad that I would not have believed had someone told me beforehand.
1. You find a new level of worry.
Nathan was born via emergency C-Section 11 days late. My worry turned from immediately from my wife to my little boy who blood oxygen level was dipping and turning a dusky colour(nurses term for turning blue) and then coming back pink. And he would not feed. The pediatrician told us he needed to spend some time in the Neonatal Unit. Because he is not feeding we need to get an IV line in.
My poor little man needs a pretty big needle put into his hand. The anguish you experience is strong. After 2 hours and they still could not get a line in and even the midwives are starting to get worried that helpless anguish takes a brand new level and there is nothing you can you and all you want to do is have them healthy and give them a cuddle and kisses. Nothing else in the world matters more than wanting, wishing a hoping for a speedy recovery. That level of anguish and worry takes over all thought but you must accept that this little creature has now got to fight his own fight and you cannot do everything for them as much as you want to!
2. You will wash the same items 100 times in a day
So sinead has been getting mastitis and as such it has been recommended that she pumps off any additional breast milk that Nathan doesn’t drink. That means dismantling 6 parts, filling the sink, washing, sterilising drying, and reassembling the pump every 2-3 hours, 24 hours a day. Now before you pull out the smallest violins in sympathy, I do recognise the enormous effort it takes to actually breastfeed, but that’s not what this post is about.
3. Your hands will be chemically stripped
Every nappy change, pet of a dog, make a breastmilk bottle, pick up of a baby, make a cup of tea for guest or load the dishwasher you will need to wash and dry your hands. Do a week or two of that there is not a chance a germ can live on your hands. The only downside is that nothing else can exist their either. Including your skin.
My keyboard tying hands have never seen a grass days labor and they feel like I’ve been lifting bricks all week.
4. Those hundreds of baby grows, you’ll never get through?
Guess what. They probably still won’t be enough. I find it hard to fathom how many times you need to change a vest and a baby grow. You will just have to experience it for yourself!
5. Your mouth is an extension of your hands
With a baby in one hand, the other to do whatever it is you need to do, your mouth quickly becomes the third hand you never knew you had. You will surprise yourself what it can actually hold in your gob!
6. That level of tired everyone tells you about
I’m an early riser. A 6am start would be pretty typical for me and I am used to working really hard. I genuinely thought that having a baby would be a similar amount of work.
Well was I ever wrong. Even though I’m not doing the midnight feeds, I am doing all the other work. Nappy, vest and baby grow changes. Dismantling, washing, reassembling the breast pump and storing the milk. Try and do a days work after that process a few times a night!
7. Baby’s will puke or poop on every newly washed item of clothes
The headline says it all. If it’s not one, then it’s the other. If they puke on the baby grow, it needs to be changed, by the time you have them in a new outfit and are planning on making some food, they have filled the nappy and the process starts all over again.
8. You’ll never be prouder than your little one taking a poo.
So I have learn that your baby’s poo is a great indicator of their health. Yellow mustardy coloured seedy textured poo is what we are aiming for. Nathan can go for over a day without a movement and then you see the scrunched up face and and clear cut ‘wraaaaapp’, ‘parp’, ‘wap’, and that is quickly followed by, ‘oh what a good boy, proud of that one!!’
Who’d have thought your paternal pride could extend that far!
9. Nappies Everywhere
It’s like a ticking time bomb changing a wet or dirty nappy. You never know when mount Vesuvius of wee will erupt. As such the old nappy comes off and is discarded very quickly as you try get the new one on. I found 3 nappies by my bedside one of the evenings. They just end up everywhere. Accept it!
10. You will fill new parts of your heart you never knew existed.
Despite the tiredness, endless washing changing, feeding, burping repeating and as cheeses as it sounds, my life has a brand new meaning, my motivation has a new focus, my relationship with my wife has deepened and this little man has truly hit parts of my heart that I never knew could have feelings.