The first-time dad isn’t always a smooth ride.
If you’re the dad, you need to be prepared for some of the stressful aspects of being the new dad.
Here are some tips to help you manage stress as a new dad, whether you’re new to parenting or you’ve been the dad for years.
Be a great communicator If you don’t know the right words or phrases to use, you’re not prepared to explain your new baby’s name, name your baby’s first name, or explain that you are a father, says Dr. James Hirsch, director of family medicine at the University of Michigan.
Find a good source for parenting advice Get your baby and ask him or her what they’re learning.
The best source of parenting advice is a book or journal.
Dr. Hirsch says to start with the first section of a book, then read through the book to get to the most relevant parts.
Read the first chapter to find out what’s going on in your baby boy’s mind.
Use a book to prepare for the day You’re the new father.
The first thing you should do is take time to prepare.
Make a list of your favorite activities, what you enjoy doing and what you’ll do on the day of your baby girl’s birth, says Deborah Rader, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.
For example, if you want to take a walk and watch a movie, you can use a book and take pictures of yourself while you do so.
You can also use a list to get your kids ready for bed, say Dr. Rader.
The book should tell you what you’re going to be doing and where you’re staying the night, says Rader; then it’s up to you to make those decisions.
You might want to set a time to take the first walk, or have your husband bring your kids out for breakfast, she says.
Get help from a parent who’s familiar with your baby What you’re really worried about is how you’ll be interacting with your new parents.
When you’re a first-timer, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by new responsibilities and feelings, says Barbara Ducharme, author of Babies and Kids: The New Parenting Handbook.
But if you’ve had a loving relationship with your parents for years, they can give you advice on what to expect from them, she adds.
And when you’re dealing with new situations, a trusted adult can make sure that you’re getting help.
For instance, a father who has experienced a divorce can help you understand how to communicate with your kids, says Duchak, who is also a parenting coach and author of How to Make Mommy and Dad Work: A Parenting Guide for Parents with Children.
“You can really feel safe with a trusted parent who has been there for you when you’ve needed help,” she says, and “your new mother-in-law has the skills to support you through the process.”
Set realistic goals for yourself Dr. Mark Zuckerman, a family therapist in Minneapolis, recommends that you set goals for your new day.
He says to be realistic about how long it will take you to be a dad.
“If you have a long time in the future, that means you’re spending a lot of time with your daughter,” he says.
You should also take into account when you will be able to raise your daughter.
For some women, that may mean having a baby in five to seven years.
But for others, it may mean starting a family after they graduate high school or are a college graduate.
“The longer you are in the workforce, the more likely you are to become a dad,” says Dr, Zuckertman.
“It’s really about how you feel about it, your needs, and your expectations.”
Take time to make friends If you have family friends, it can help to have a few on the phone.
“We all need to have the space to socialize,” says Duhon.
She suggests that you talk to them first, then write letters or emails and try to get some feedback on how you are doing.
“Be as upfront as possible,” she adds, so that you can hear back from them.
“Just keep it short, concise and direct.”
Talk to your child about your expectations For new parents, there are some things you need you to learn and get over with before your baby arrives, says Michael Nesbit, professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
These include things like: what your expectations are for your baby, how you’re expecting to raise him or your baby will be with you.
“As you become a father and as your role changes, your expectations may change too,” says Nesbits.
“But there are things you can say and do in order to reassure your child