Becoming a dad for the first time is a momentous period in your life.
And while the nine month wait to meet your new baby can feel like a drag, it can also fly by so quickly especially when you have so much to get ready.
Preparing for fatherhood isn’t just about the practical - decorating the baby’s room, buying a pushchair and a cot. As a dad-to-be, preparing yourself emotionally and mentally is just as important.Actually, this guy seems to think it’s pretty easy…
Table Of Contents
No dad ever found out they were having a child and instantly felt like they knew everything there is to know about raising a baby. Learning is going to be a big part of your life for the next few months. You’ll probably spend a lot of time reading new dad survival guides, watching YouTube videos and searching for the best dad books.
33 ways to prepare for fatherhood
If you think you need a bit more help than that, we’ve put together this guide to bring you 33 of the best ways to prepare for fatherhood, speaking to dads who’ve been there and done it (and maybe didn’t prepare as best they could).
1 - Work out the family budget
Your new baby is going to have a dramatic impact on your finances long before they are born. The cost of a child is estimated to be more than $300,000 for middle-income families in the US. And unless you start to prepare well in advance, the impact could be a lot worse than it needs to be.
Working out a family budget early on in the pregnancy not only gives you a clear picture of what you can afford when it comes to the big purchases like cot, pushchairs and car seats, it helps you to understand what your options might be for parental leave and working patterns after the birth.
The key things to work out here are:
- How much disposable income you currently have
- How much you’re likely to spend on the baby
- What you can cut back on
Those with very tight budgets and those who are environmentally conscious can also look to second-hand products, either passed down from family members or to buy from online marketplaces (there are some products that experts recommend never using second hand like mattresses and car seats).
Kevin H, dad to Stellen (4), explains how important second-hand products were to him and his new family...
“I can’t tell you how helpful marketplaces, garage sales, family members and goodwill have been for the pregnancy. Sometimes it really feels like it takes a village [to raise a child], and the village has been so immensely helpful to both of us.”
2 - Plan your paternity leave and working patterns
In years gone by, there wouldn’t even be a conversation about paternity leave or working patterns. The baby would be born, you’d take your paternity leave and go back to work full-time two weeks later.
Thankfully, things are very different for modern-day dads. You might already have a good idea of how much paternity leave you want to take and how you want to take it. It’s important to remember that there are a lot of variables when it comes to paternity leave - your employer might have an enhanced parental leave policy, you might be self-employed, your budget might not allow for an extended period of leave.
Luckily, we’ve got a few handy guides to help you make your decision:
Closer to the due date - perhaps towards the end of the second trimester or start of the third - it’s a good time to discuss your plans with your employer.
Mark S, dad to Jamie (3), explains his experience after the birth:
“The first few months have forced me into a real work-life balance discussion. I took a month off at the start, which was fantastic. I was still trying to be available for work when needed during office hours - but then I started noticing the 8:30am and 6:00pm meetings going in the diary. I had to be quite strict with myself and others that 6pm is my baby's bath time."
3 - Open a savings account for your baby
If you’re in the UK, you might be looking at the Cost of Living crisis and real-term drop in wages, and wondering what the future holds for your baby as they reach adulthood.
So this might just be the perfect time to open a child savings account - it can be something you give to them when they turn 18, or go towards buying them their first car, helping pay for their wedding, or go towards a deposit on their first house (if they can ever actually achieve that!)But what do you look for in a children’s savings account? Luckily, we’ve got a handy guide on some of the important jargon, what to look for and listed 10 of the best children’s savings accounts.
4 - Check which benefits you’re eligible for
Claiming the government benefits you’re eligible for is an excellent way to top up your family income and ease the financial pressure of a baby.
What you’re eligible for usually depends on where you live and how much you earn. If you’re in the US, Benefits.gov breaks down the support for families into states. And the UK government website has a handy list of benefits and financial support for families here.
5 - Build healthy eating habits
If you’re already eating a healthy, balanced diet - great job! Keep it going!
If not, now is a great time to start before your new baby arrives. Most dads will tell you they piled on the pounds in the first few weeks. Lack of sleep and long days usually make it very hard to keep on top of healthy eating habits. Cementing those habits early on in the pregnancy will certainly help though.
Maintaining a healthy weight and improving your overall wellbeing is an important factor in keeping your energy levels as high as possible to support your partner throughout the pregnancy and early weeks and months of your child’s life.
6 - Build good exercise habits
What good is building healthy eating habits without the exercise to go along with it?
Combining a balanced diet with regular exercise is definitely the best way to improve and maintain not just your physical wellbeing but also your mental wellbeing. Studies even show that when dads exercise, children feel the benefit.
Kristin Stanford from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who conducted the study, said: “Even a month or so of moderate exercise before conception can have major benefits to his children’s metabolic health. Those benefits include lower body weight, increased insulin sensitivity and decreased fat mass.”
Home workouts or going for a run in the local area are great ways to get some exercise in without breaking the bank or taking too much time away from your partner and baby.
Just like with food, if you’re already exercising regularly - brilliant! It would also be good to spend some time roughly planning how you’re going to get your exercise when the baby comes. It’s important to take time for yourself and continue exercising to stay healthy and reduce stress, but the reality is that you’re going to have less time to do it when the baby arrives.
You might just need to adjust your activity or schedule a bit to suit your new life.
7 - Brush up on pregnancy terms
Whether you’ve picked up a few things from friends or family who’ve had children, or from TV programmes and films, you probably know a fair few pregnancy terms already. But becoming a dad-to-be means you’re usually throwing into the deep end when it comes to pregnancy terminology.Who on earth knows what an AGPAR score is?!
8 - Think about names
This is another one you and your partner may have talked about long before becoming pregnant. If not, one of the earliest conversations most couples tend to have is picking baby names. It’s a really difficult decision to make, but can lead to some really fun conversations.
We’ve got a few guides here that explain why a name is important and how to pick one, offer up some unique choices (and also some to avoid!):
9 - Get life insurance
“Dying is obviously not on your to-do list, but the reality is that every 22 minutes a child loses a parent they rely on financially,” according to dads’ life insurance specialists, Tom.
“Losing a dad sucks, but losing a dad, the family home and the things he used to [help] pay for all at the same time sucks on an entirely new level”.
Even if you’re the most carefree, happy-go-lucky, risk-taker out there, the reality is that becoming a dad is likely to change your perception on life and on risk. You start to worry about what would happen to your children if the worst should ever happen to you.
If you haven’t already, we definitely recommend getting some life insurance and giving yourself (and your partner) some peace of mind.
10 - Attend parenting classes
You can read all the parenting books in the world, and you’ll still find yourself thinking ‘What on earth do I do?’ over and over again when you become a dad - how to hold your baby, how to burp them, how to wrap them in a swaddle (or what a swaddle even is!), how to change a nappy. The list goes on and on.
Parenting classes (aka antenatal classes in the UK) are a great way to get to grips with at least some of those queries and conundrums rattling around in your head. They’re designed to provide information and prepare you for life as a parent. However, they can often focus heavily on pregnancy and the immediate time after the birth, and therefore focus on the mum-to-be.
The good news is that more and more parenting classes focused on dads are popping up all over the place, and there are even a growing range of online parenting classes.
Amish P, dad to Aran (1), explains where his mind went when he found out he was going to be a dad:
“My focus was immediately on the practical stuff. What do we need to buy? What lists should we start to make? When do I need to start thinking about classes?"
11 - Talk roles and responsibilities
As you progress through the pregnancy, you might find yourself wondering what your role is going to be in the early weeks and months. Historically, soon to be dads would be thinking almost entirely about providing; go out to work and put food on the table, but the role of a dad has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years or so. But with mum the primary caregiver (especially if she’s breastfeeding) we can still be left wondering what is best for us to do.
It’s a good time to talk with your partner about the expectations you have of each other as parents - a big step in helping you to prepare for fatherhood. It’s good for you both to go into life as parents with a pretty clear understanding of who is going to do what, when and how often.
Your plans might totally go out the window when your baby comes, but it’s still a good idea to talk about in advance.
12 - Share the load
You may well have heard of ‘the mental load’ over the past few years. It’s a term to describe the invisible or ‘mental’ work that goes into running a household, mainly experienced by women and mums.
It’s not the physical doing of a task, but the mental preparation for it - planning meals, keeping track of items for a grocery shop, the need to wash a sports kit or school uniform in time, and so on.
A hot topic in recent years, it’s not only highlighted the mental load that (mainly) women and mums go through but also started a conversation around how men and dads can better support their partners and share the load.
So much like a conversation around roles and responsibilities for taking care of your baby when they arrive, it’s good to have a conversation around sharing general responsibilities around the house.
Jason O'C, dad to Peter (2), says:
“Just be there for your partner. She just needs all the help she can get at this stage, and she may be hiding feelings from you she may not be ready to discuss yet."
13 - Consider if you need a new car
Been driving around in a sporty two-seater? You need to switch it up, my friend. Even if you love your car, your new reality means practicality trumps style every time. You need a boot big enough for a chunky pushchair and more, a back seat long enough to comfortably fit an infant car seat, and a fuel efficiency to maximise the household budget.
If your car already meets the practicality standards of becoming a dad, it’s a great idea to spend some time prior to the birth making sure it’s in tip-top condition. The last thing you want is to break down or to blow a tire on the way to the hospital when your partner is in labour - and this actually happened to my sister and her partner!!
14 - Buy an infant car seat (and know how to use it)
Speaking of cars, buying a baby car seat and learning how to use it is an essential part of preparing for fatherhood.
It may sound obvious, but you need to have your baby’s car seat installed and ready for the journey home from the hospital. In fact, hospitals won’t allow you to leave without a nurse or midwife showing you how to safely strap your baby into the car seat, and how to safely install the seat itself into the car.
Check out our guide The 8 Best Car Seats (2023 Buying Guide) for everything you need to know about the law on child car seats, the key things you need to look out for, and of course, our recommendations.
Speaking of which…
15 - Choose baby gear and equipment
Like infant car seats, there are plenty of baby gear and equipment purchases you need to make that you don’t want to do on a whim.
Things like baby furniture, car seats and pushchairs are the items you’re going to be using for several months, maybe even years depending on the item. So you need to be sure it does the job it’s supposed to for your baby, but is also practical for you as parents.
Be sure to take your time with these purchases, read the reviews of other parents and try to find the right balance between quality, practicality and budget.
Here are some of the bigger purchases you’ll need (or maybe want) to make before the baby arrives:
Car seat (as we’ve already discussed)
Wardrobe and chest of drawers
Rocking/feeding chair (optional)
Breast pump (optional)
Bottle steriliser and bottles
High chair (for a few months’ time)
Related: The Top 10 Gadgets for Dads
16 - Buy a month's worth of baby care essentials
The last thing you want to be doing in the first couple of weeks, after a night of no sleep, is rushing to the shop to pick up some nappies, wipes or something else. So stock up on plenty of baby care essentials - unlike the bigger purchases, we’re talking the products you might use a lot of in that first month.
Check out our ultimate baby essentials checklist for a breakdown of everything you need.
17 - Get your dad joke game ready
As a dad-to-be, it can feel like a long time until you need to bring out the dad jokes. But if you want to be on your A-game when your child is old enough to understand dad jokes, you need to spend the pregnancy and early years perfecting your delivery.Check out A Dad Joke A Day and A Knock Knock Joke A Day
18 - Look after your mental health
You’ve probably heard of post-natal depression or postpartum depression. You might not realise that it doesn’t just affect new mums, it can affect new dads too. There is a host of evidence showing that as many as one in four new dads will start to show symptoms of depression in the first six months of their baby’s arrival, while some even claim it to be as many as half of new dads.
There is no one reason why new dads experience post-partum depression; lack of sleep, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, short paternity leave, loneliness and many more can be contributing factors.
Royce B, dad to Jalen (2) recalls how his postnatal depression began:
“I was so stressed about being not just a dad, but a good dad. If something wasn't working, I'd question constantly why it wasn't working, and the pressure that came with that. Then I'm also thinking about my dad and how great he was - 'maybe I can just try and be half as good as him', or 'maybe I'm just the deadbeat dad'. Because of Covid, that was adding all this financial pressure on top, too. It all triggered my PPND (paternal postnatal depression)."
It can be easy for dads to fall into the trap of thinking that they need to put mother and baby first in every and any situation. But it’s incredibly important for you to look after your own wellbeing too. You can’t support your new family to the best of your ability if you’re not looking after yourself.
That leads on to…
19 - Make sure you're getting enough sleep
It can be really tempting to use this pre-baby time to enjoy a final few months of late nights watching TV or a film, or playing video games. Or you might even go with the logic ‘I’m not going to get any sleep when the baby comes, I’ll try and get used to it now so it’s not a huge shock to the system’.
Sleep is a hugely important factor in our efforts to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. There are so many blogs, articles, research papers and more highlighting just how vital it is to get plenty of good quality sleep in order to maintain our wellbeing.
Just like healthy eating and exercise, creating those positive sleeping habits now during pregnancy will leave you in a better place by the time baby comes.
20 - Agree on where the baby will be sleeping
Speaking of sleep, you also need to consider where your baby will sleep. Although you might have wonderful plans for your baby’s room, it’s recommended that they sleep on their own surface, in the same room as mum and dad until around six months.
With plenty of us already struggling for space, adding a full-sized cot to the bedroom just isn’t an option. That’s why plenty of parents opt for a moses basket for baby’s arrival before moving up to a cot when they go into their own room.
It’s important to note that while moses baskets themselves can be reused or bought second hand, experts always recommend buying a brand new mattress. This is because studies show a link between second hand mattresses and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Jon P, dad to Grace (1), explains how easy it can be to rush into decorating the baby's room:
“My initial reaction was ‘let’s get the nursery ready’. I’m talking like day one of week one of finding out! But looking back, I rushed into setting up the bed etc, and didn’t need to do that straight away. Our baby sleeps in our room for the first few months and I had to adjust to how things work.”
21 - Decorate the baby’s room
Although Jon P is right - you don't have to rush into decorating right away, it is something that should be fairly high on your agenda throughout the pregnancy.
A lot of couples don’t have a need for a second room until they have a baby, and so it just becomes a bit of a dumping ground for anything and everything (this dad is definitely speaking from experience on this one!).
Decorating their room can be a huge job (especially if it’s filled with all your stuff!), which means it’s definitely not something you want to leave until the baby comes and your energy levels are at rock bottom and your time is limited.
22 - Begin baby proofing the house
In short, baby proofing the house means making your house safe for when your baby starts crawling around. It can seem a way off, but it’s much easier to baby proof during pregnancy.
Even things that seem totally harmless to you as an adult, or even a child, can present a hazard to a baby learning to explore their surroundings.
It might look silly, but the best way to assess hazards is to get on your hands and knees and crawl around the house. Sometimes even looking at things from a different angle can change your perception on whether or not it’s a hazard.
Here are some of the main areas you can expect to be baby proofing:
Sharp edges - Removing or adding protection to sharp edges or corners on coffee tables, TV units, side tables, chairs, worktops etc.
Heavy furniture - Bulky furniture items like cupboard, wardrobes, drawers, TV units and shelving units can be fixed to a wall to stop them being pulled over.
Medicines and cleaning products - Either moving them to a cupboard up high or installing child locks
Stairs - Stair gates are an essential at the top and bottom of stairs
Fireplace - If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, you’ll need to add a fireplace screen to baby getting to it
Windows and doors - Child locks will need to be added to any reachable windows, doors and cupboard doors. You may even need to move items of furniture away from windows and doors as they could be climbed on.
Plugs and cables - Experts recommend using products that cover the entire plug socket, rather than inserts. And any exposed cables should be tied and be kept out of reach.
23 - Decide on a diaper/nappy system and stock up
Something you’ll both need to decide on is the diaper or nappy system you use. While disposable nappies were the assumed choice for generations, parents are increasingly opting for reusable nappies largely for their environmental credentials.
They can seem like a big step away from the perceived norm, so it’s best to do your research before making any decisions. Check out our parents guide to reusable nappies, which gives you everything you need to know about them.
It’s also a good time to pick out a diaper changing bag and stock up on items like nappy rash creams, wipes etc.
Practical tip for you: It’s always handy to have plenty of these products. Ie. One for the diaper bag, one for upstairs, one for downstairs. The last thing you want to be doing mid-change is running upstairs to grab the cream.
24 - Upgrade/clear some storage on your phone
You’re going to take a lot of photos and videos of your baby. No matter how much you want to ditch your phone and really live in the moment, you’re also going to want to capture every little smirk, quirk and facial expression.
That means storage gets eaten up VERY quickly as a new dad! So, spend a bit of time clearing some storage on your phone, deleting apps you haven’t used for ages or memes and gifs shared in hundreds of WhatsApp groups you’re part of. Or, you might think that your phone actually needs an upgrade for something with more storage and a better camera.
25 - Spend quality time with your partner
The impending arrival of your baby takes so much focus that many couples forget to be just that, a couple, in the final months of pregnancy. Your world is about to change forever and it’s something a lot of parents struggle with in the early years of their child’s life. It impacts on your freedom and flexibility to be romantic, on your sex life, and just your ability to spend time with one another.
It’s important to take time away from a world of baby-proofing, scans, decorating, choosing pushchairs and so on and just spend quality time with your partner. It might be a long, long time until you can get that time again.
If budgets allow, you could go on a babymoon! If you haven’t heard of a babymoon before, it’s (usually) a short break abroad a couple of months before the baby is born.
Most airlines will allow women to fly up to around 36 weeks or a month before the due date, while others will request a letter of approval from a doctor past the seven month mark.
This is also a good chance to take stock and talk about which family members you can rely on or ask for support when you do want to take some time for yourselves as a couple. You might even prefer to plan a set date night once a month after you’ve settled into your new life. The Body Coach, Joe Wicks, hit the headlines in 2020 when he said he and his wife, Rosie, schedule their sex once a week.
Thomas M, dad to Robert (5) says:
“Our sex life didn’t change too drastically during pregnancy, but we started finding new ways to enjoy each other’s company when we were just too tired, or she felt too sick. Sometimes that just means laying together and making plans for the future with our baby.”
Simon H, dad to Goldie (2), adds:
"Every single day we did the same walk around. I think we went out twice a day - the walk around became a good daily habit. We used that time to really talk about the baby. It's been something we've carried on post birth."
26 - Establish your support network
We mentioned it briefly in the last point, but establishing your support network before the baby comes can save plenty of stress after the baby comes. Your support network is the group of people you can go to in your time of need. Some are better at certain things than others so it’s certainly possible that you have a large support network with different roles. An older grandparent might offer to make some meals for you, but perhaps won’t be able to look after the baby. While a younger niece or nephew might be well placed to take the dog for a run around the park.It can be easy to make assumptions about this but your partner may not be on the same page, which is why it’s so important to talk about it. Be warned, though, it can lead to some awkward conversations, particularly when family is involved - you might not be comfortable with a certain friend or member of your partner’s family looking after your baby. It’s not a pleasant conversation to have, but it’s better to be honest than stay quiet and end up resenting decisions later down the line.
Mason C, dad to Max (3) stresses the importance of a good support network:
“We built a good support system, that was key. We’re both in the medical field, and you’d think that might give us an advantage. But without support, support we intentionally built up, it might’ve felt impossible. So we had friends, family helping us when we just didn’t feel we had time to even cook for ourselves. The smallest things, they did laundry for us. But those small things, they’re just like grains of sand to a beach, the little things add up a lot and pay huge dividends.”
27 - Prepare for a new social life
Having a baby means your social life is inevitably going to change. And when we say prepare for a new social life, in reality it means prepare for no social life - at least the first few months.
The reality is that it’s much harder to just drop everything for an afternoon playing golf or a night out drinking with your friends when you have a baby. And that can be hard for them to come to terms with as well, especially if you’re the first in your group to have a baby. it’s important to explain that while you won’t be able to spend as much time with them or perhaps do the same things as you used to, you’ll still be there from time to time (you just might have to plan it well in advance!)
Just as spending quality time with your partner is important, you could also use the final few months of pregnancy to have one last big hurrah with your mates before the baby comes.
Alex M, dad to Raffi (2), says:
“It’s strange, life suddenly divides into pre-baby and post-baby… If no other friends are having a baby at the same time as you, your social life is inevitably going to change. I think humans are much more preoccupied with loss than they are with gain. We always feel losses more acutely than gains, but if I’m honest, everything I do still feels a million times over more meaningful now.”
And Mason C, dad to Max (3), adds:
“The geology of my friendships has shifted. I don't drink with the boys as much, but they're cool with me bringing the baby around and that's pretty wonderful. It's okay for things to shift."
28 - Find a dad group
Whether it’s online - like the DaddiLife community - or in-person, dad groups are a great way to meet other new dads who are going through the same things as you. They’re a safe space to ask open and honest questions, and often the best place to go to get open and honest answers.
Although not necessarily advertised as such, ‘baby groups’ overwhelmingly tend to be mother-and-baby groups. But there are a rising number of baby groups targeted at dads exclusively, or really focusing their advertising on attracting mums and dads. And even some for dads-to-be.
If you want to get out to an in-person dad group, have a search for groups local to you, and if you can’t find one nearby, maybe you could start one!
Kristopher F, dad to Archie (2) and Rachel (4), says:
“I'm in contact with my best mates a lot more. We have a couple of different WhatsApp groups for dads now - we talk about hobbies and it's just a great release. We're all dealing with these things.
"One guy in the group - whenever his four year-year old is being a demon, he sends a video of just his facial reaction and sends that on. Sometimes we just take stupid photos and have a laugh about it. Am I one of those guys now? I have a 'just wait until the guys hear about this!' mindset too!"
29 - Prepare yourself for guilt
Did you know that one in five dads suffer with guilt?
Studies show that fathers often put themselves in a lose-lose situation as they try to balance being a dad with the traditional role of being the breadwinner. In fact, a 2015 study suggested that dads actually are actually more critical of themselves than mums.
Spend some time thinking about how you see your role as a dad, and also the things that you feel you won’t be able to do. Talking about it will help you to become more comfortable with how you see your role - and also talking about it early on will actually help you prevent or alleviate feelings of guilt.
Ziko T, dad to Amaia (1), says:
“I didn't feel like I was her 'dad' initially - in how she was responding to me vs my partner or her Grandma. I'd send a video of myself - "Morning Amaia..." and talk about my dad, and have a song playing in the background - just general chatter to try and help build a little bond daily, even if she was thousands of miles away, at least she knew who I was."
30 - Know your role at birthing time
Preparing for the birth is an integral part of preparing for fatherhood. Being a great dad starts before your baby comes into the world.
Discuss with your partner if she wants to make a birthing plan or not, and what your part is - ultimately it’s to support her and make her as comfortable as possible, and it’s good to know the specifics. Does she want music? Does she want you to rub her shoulders? Does she want an arm around the shoulder or some tough love when she’s finding labour hard?
Labour can sometimes get a bit hectic, so being sure in your role can help to bring some calm and comfort to the whole situation.
Not a new phenomenon, but hypnobirthing has become increasingly popular in recent years and might be something you and your partner want to discuss. Check out our dad’s guide to hypnobirthing.
Damian C, dad to Grace (2), recalls his role during labour:
“I tried as hard as possible to keep Kirsty out of her 'thinking brain' - so she wasn't overly processing things, and could keep her focus where it was needed."
Ameet H, dad to Harjot (1) has some excellent advice for parents when it comes to their birthing plan:
“I'd say to other dads-to-be to realise their sense of empowerment, even in labour. There are things that you're allowed to say 'yes' and 'no' to. Know your rights as a parent. The key is trusting your partner, and understanding your rights. If you believe in things like active birth - all the stats suggest it's much better for the mother, but the convenience of lying on your back is what hospitals preach. So just be as informed for yourself and your partner as much as possible."
31 - Pack your own hospital bag
As you step up preparations for the birth, your wife will turn her attention to packing her hospital bag. You can pack the hospital bag at any point in pregnancy, but most people tend to advise having it ready at least two weeks before the due date.
You may also want to consider packing your own hospital bag. It’s not something many dads tend to do but there’s certainly logic to it. Labour can be long so it makes sense to have some provisions with you - a phone charger, a book, some snacks, maybe a change of clothes.
Check this out for more info...'The Dad Hospital Bag: The Ultimate Checklist for What to Pack'
32 - Make and freeze some meals ahead of time
In the first few weeks after your baby’s arrival, you’re both going to be exhausted. You’re not going to have time to cook, and you’ll find yourself reaching for the ready meals or, even worse, your phone to order a takeaway time and time again.
We’ve already spoken about the importance of establishing healthy habits in the run-up to birth. The best thing you can possibly do in the weeks before the due date is to spend a few hours cooking up plenty of meals to freeze.
It means you’ll have plenty of delicious and healthy meals ready to eat within five minutes whenever you need them most.
Jon P, dad to Grace (1), says:
“My partner got really uncomfortable at the end - all I could do was be available to talk and ask myself what I could do. I batch cooked 45 meals and put them in the freezer, and got a cleaner to help make the home spotless for that first day back."
33 - Deep clean everything one last time
You’ve bought everything you need, your partner has had the baby shower, you’ve picked your baby’s name, you’re stocked up on essentials, you’re physically and mentally ready, you’ve spent some time together. Everything you could possibly think of is done and dusted, and now there’s just one final thing to do before your baby comes.
You’ve probably heard of a pregnant woman ‘nesting’. It’s a term borrowed from the bird world, where female birds prepare their nest ready to lay her eggs; essentially preparing the home for her chicks.
It’s common for pregnant women to start nesting as they get closer to their due date, perhaps around eight months. And part of this nesting is giving everything one last deep clean before the baby comes.
It’s a bit of an old wives’ tale that women should get on their hands and knees to scrub the floor to help bring on labour. But we’re sure she wouldn’t mind the help!
How do you know if you are mentally ready for a baby?
Honestly, there’s no definitive answer to this question. Everyone is totally different and moves at different speeds.
Many dads say they spent the whole nine months of pregnancy preparing for fatherhood and they still found they weren’t mentally prepared for the reality. On the other hand, we’ve spoken to dads who say they lived their life as normal throughout pregnancy, didn’t try to prepare themselves mentally at all and took to life as a dad like a duck to water.
All you can do is try to prepare yourself as best you can and continue to talk to people about how you feel.
How does fatherhood change a man's brain?
Becoming a father changes men in so many ways. It is true that becoming a father does alter what’s going on inside a man’s brain. New father’s get a boost of the hormones estrogen, oxytocin, prolactin and glucocorticoids - oxytocin being the one that helps mothers bond with their babies.
In fact, there are studies from the animal world that suggest males actually grow new neurons when they become fathers.
How should a man prepare for a baby?
There’s no set of rules to follow when preparing for fatherhood. This guide is based on the experience and learnings of many dads around the world.
The best thing you can dive into the world of becoming a dad. It’s easy to think ‘Bah, the birth is nine months away, I’ve got plenty of time. I can pick it up when the baby comes’. But you’ll find yourself far less prepared.
Read books and blogs, and talk to your partner, your friends, your family.
What should I read before becoming a dad?
Honestly, you should read You’re Going to be a Dad! from DaddiLife Books.
It’s endorsed by the Royal College of Midwives: “fantastic read for first time fathers. It conveys the very real ups and downs of the pregnancy journey from a dad’s perspective, and just as importantly, provides the real solutions at every step of the way.”
How can a father prepare his first child?
Many people will argue you can’t truly prepare emotionally for having your first child. Following some of the practical steps we’ve listed in this guide might just help give you the time and headspace needed to process the emotional factors when the baby comes.
Should dads-to-be read What to Expect When You're Expecting?
If you were to search pregnancy books, What to Expect When You’re Expecting will probably be top of most lists. First published in 1984, it has been named one of the ‘Most Influential Books of the Last 25 Years’ by USA Today.
And although it claims to have advice for dads-to-be “fully integrated throughout the book”, we’ve never felt like there’s never been a pregnancy book that truly speaks to the modern-day dad. That’s why we wrote and published You’re Going to Be a Dad!