Honest Advice for New Dads From Other Dads Who've Been Through It All
Are you a clueless daddy-to-be or a new father who's feeling a little lost? Here are some honest words of advice for new dads from a few experienced fathers who have been through it before - and survived!
If you are a daddy-to-be who’s eagerly anticipating the arrival of your little one, or you’ve just returned home with your new bundle of joy, chances are that you’re feeling pretty clueless about what to do next and how exactly to be a good father.
We spoke to a few “seasoned” fathers from all walks of life and asked them for their pearls of wisdom and honest advice for new dads, so that hopefully you can learn a thing or two from their personal experience.
Preparing for the baby
As you go through the beautiful nine months, watching your wife’s baby bump grow and counting down to the big day, what can you do to prepare yourself for the arrival of your firstborn?
Here is some advice for new dads from our panel of experienced fathers:
“Honestly, you can prepare as much as you want but once the baby arrives, you’ll quickly learn that you can never really be prepared. You probably have bought a crib or a stroller already, but the baby might not like it. The best thing to do is to not over-stress yourself and just play by ear.” – Eaddy Mohamad, Environmental Officer, father of one.
“Helping to take care of your baby nephews and nieces when you’re still single really helps for when you have some kids of your own.” – Azlan Rasul, Musician and father of two.
“Read books for references, but it’s not rocket science. Although I don’t think anyone can really be prepared because this is about human relationship and humans are all different from one another. Parenting books are just for reference, but it’s really all about watching the scenario, and making quick decisions.” – Charles Ng, Sound Engineer and father of one.
Plan your finances
“Babies poop every hour of the day, which may cause rashes and that’s where the diaper cream is needed (of a specific brand that works which was discovered after trying five different types!). So yeah, you need more money on diapers and formula milk rather than on an expensive stroller.” – Izad Omar, Founder of theatre company Kreativ Outbox, and father of two.
Give all your love
“Love is key. There will be many instances where you are required to understand both mother and child even when you don’t really know what’s going on. No amount of reading will prepare you for this life long task. With love, comes patience. Every single step taken needs your tender love and a lot of patience.” – Muhammad Farhat B Kamal, Creative Director at Flipside Stories, and father of two.
“Being a new father, one will have to face waking up at wee hours and odd times. Doing new things such as changing diapers and getting the right temperature when you make milk. It’ll eventually be a norm and in no time, become a routine that you’ll be an expert at.” – Nas, Police Officer, father of one and expecting two more.
Once the baby is born
Now that your little one has made his or her grand appearance, this is when your whole world will be turned upside down and inside out! But don’t feel too stressed because you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
What’s the advice for new dads from other seasoned dads?:
Go the extra mile
“Being a father requires consistent dedication, compromise and energy. Lots of it! As hard as it gets, you are rewarded with your baby’s joy as they laugh and coo with you which is simply priceless. Make the extra effort and go the extra mile, despite your busy schedule, to have a one-one time with your baby so you can bond with them – even if you have a full-time care-taker or a nanny for the baby. It can be as simple as a routine diaper change or changing their clothes. You’ll be surprised by how they interact with you.” – Arie Haryoko, Investment Manager and father of one.
Try to understand
“The first born is the toughest because it’s your first time and you won’t know what to expect. You’ll never know what the baby’s asking for, however, after two to three weeks, you might start to understand their actions and understand their every cry and tantrum. By then, you’ll start to react faster.” – Muhammad Farhat B Kamal, Creative Director, father of two.
Look out for clues
You really need to be observant when It comes to dealing with a newborn. Pay attention to the surroundings and he might give you clues as to what he needs. It also requires a lot of trial and error, so be patient.” – Kamal Abdul Rahim, Freelancer and father of two.
Work as a team
“Being a father to a new born requires not only patience, but you’ll have to work side by side with your partner, get all the knowledge from your parents, and prepare yourself for any emergency that might happen.” – Kenny Cheow, Mobile Crane Operator and father of two.
Try different methods
“I managed to understand my children’s needs when they were still babies by experimenting with many ways to do things with them – like how to get them to sleep when they’re cranky as hell! Patience is always important and so is keeping a cool head.” – Azlan Rasul, musician, father of two.
Patience is key
“Once, my baby just would not stop crying even though I tried everything, however nothing could pacify her, so I began to get angry and found myself shouting at her. But I quickly realised how foolish I was because she was just a one month old baby who couldn’t communicate her needs to me so I had absolutely no right to be angry with her. I decided there and then to be more patient with my kids.” – Farid Long, Sales Manager and father of two.
As your child grows up
Once your baby starts walking, talking, and his or her character is starting to show, your parenting techniques will also have to evolve.
These experienced fathers have some advice for new dads:
“However busy or tired you are after work, spend as much time and engage with your kids as this is the stage where your presence will have a big impact in their lives. How they eventually turn out to be is what you show them during these moments.” – Ogy, Drummer of The Full Pledge Munkees, and father of two.
“Kids want to do things on their own like eating and drinking, but when we let them they will usually end up just playing around. They will cry and even yell at us if we don’t give what they want, so fathers-to-be must be prepared for this yet still remain patient.” – Fairuz, Senior Security Officer, father of three.
“I don’t believe in forcing my ideals and wants on my son. What he wishes to be in the future, is up to him and once he chooses his path, I will encourage him – even if the path is not some high career.” – Charles Ng, Sound Engineer, father of one.
Cherish every moment
“A lousy day at work doesn’t matter after coming home to see your child’s sweet smiling face!” – Ryn Razif, Project Manager and father of one.
“Being a father teaches me the meaning of sacrifice. I have to put aside my ego and stop thinking only about myself.” – Endy Mohamed Noor, father of two.
No two children are alike, so it is completely up to you to figure out how to care for, pacify, and show your affection to your own child.
Being a parent is not a competition either, so don’t feel pressured to become the perfect dad – because there is no such thing.
Read more parenting articles, ask your family and friends for advice, observe the signals sent by your baby, help your wife as much as you can, and just trust your own instincts.
Don’t worry daddies, you will be just fine – as long as everything is done with pure love.
Did you find the advice for new dads helpful? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Do you have any tips to share with other fathers-to-be or new dads? Write your comments below!