First Time Dad

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  • #51120

    Most of you know that I have a baby girl on the way, my wife is due February 26th, so a little over 3 months and I will officially be a 1st time Dad, at nearly 39 years old. Please post any tips and advise that you think will help me with this major life transition. I’m most interested in anything related to the final days leading up to when my wife goes into labor, the labor process, after birth, and the first year of being a parent, but anything you can think of would be appreciated. I’m sure there are some things I have not even thought of yet. Thanks in advance to all you seasoned parents.

    #51121

    lancelot
    Local

    Being in the delivery room and cutting the cord is probably the most intense thing you will ever do!!

    You will experience a new form of love unimaginable until you have your little princess…

    #51123

    NYNJ
    Grom

    It can be overwhelming especially if she is in serious pain… Just try to remember every single person on earth was born and it will be ok…

    Take lots of pics. Not for IG, but for yourself. Time really does go by fast. I already look back at pics from 4 years ago and can’t believe it.

    Don’t let people stress your chick out over breastfeeding. If she does cool. If she doesn’t cool. Your kid will be fine either way… My wife had a hard time with it with our first kid and she was super stressed. We had to switch to formula and she was upset at first, but it was fine.

    Don’t be selfish. You have your whole life to surf. If you miss a swell it’s not the end of the world.

    • Last modifed 2 months, 1 week ago
    #51126

    Thanks guys, is there anything I definitely shouldn’t do? Any hard lessons you guys have learned from your experiences?

    #51130

    Dont sacrifice time with her for “things” or anything in life not brutally important to your families overall happiness – ie never home cause your working to pay the bills or “putting away for her future”

    NYNJ says it perfectly – time is a thief and cheats; goes slow as fuck when things are hard and like greased lightning when your at peace and the ONE THING you will bitterly regret for the rest of your life is waking up one day and realizing that you can’t have it back. You can’t have a redo and you’ve missed so much … or even just a few moments when you could have stopped and talked or given a hug or put the FUCKING cell phone down or said fuck it – ill make it work another way, and go for that walk or fishing or play a game. Dont try to plan for everything – the surprises are the good stuff. The things that make you a better dad, husband. It doesn’t have to go smoothly – life never does, but if she is loved and sees you and your wife love each other and treat each other with kindness, then she will be kind and know how to love in return. Don’t try to plan her life for her – let her be who she is meant to be. She will figure that out on her own. Be slow to anger and even slower to speak when your upset – not at her but AROUND her. Another tip already said but needs to be seconded is MAKE MEMORIES and take pics to save them. Someday when she’s done with Daddy and your feeling blue, you can look back on them and remember.
    Be prepared to sacrifice most of what you do for yourself for a while – try to be as unselfish as possible… mamma will need that and you’ll appreciate what it does for your happiness! Sounds corny but it’s pretty difficult sometimes and you can get lost sometimes.

    #51132

    BarryCuda
    Grom

    Make sure YOU change baby diapers–do NOT leave that up to mother only. That has to be done several times a day–it gets tiring, boring, etc…do your fair share and then some. Do not wait to be asked to do it–volunteer to do it!

    Usually, mothers know best, what is best, for kids. Go with her flow, supportive. Mommy played with dolls as a child, practicing for this moment since a kid. Did you?? I didn’t think so…

    As for waves….the ocean isn’t going anywhere, it will always provide waves another day, time etc. No matter what the global warming paranoids tell you……

    And……HAVE FUN with your two ladies, and always remember to treat them as such, no matter what the work/job/chores pressures are. Forget chest thumping, it is for idiots anyways.

    #51137

    BassMon
    Grom

    I ain’t no papa so I’m not speaking from experience. But guy, just go with the flow. Your not a dumb guy, you seem like a loving husband, you will know what’s right and what’s wrong. And as for the little things? You’ll learn as you go.

     

    Examples. Lots of people around me have had children recently. One couple, my wife’s sister, are super anal. They read all this information that’s out nowadays. This is wrong, that’s right…. like breast feeding for example. But you know what, they are stressed and don’t seem to be enjoying their lives. Other couple are more laid back. Good parents don’t get me wrong. But just not anal. They are enjoying life and the experience.

    With so much information and opinions these days it’s easy to get caught up id imagine. Think back to our parents. They freaking figured it out on their own and we came out fine. No internet and 1000 opinions on everything.

    Obviously there are things that are wrong. You shouldn’t throw a new born down a flight of stairs. But that’s common sense. Use your instinct, use common sense, use judgment, you’ll be fine. Enjoy the experience.

    #51140

    CWhite
    Grom

    My son who is 23 now was my 1st born & I had no clue what to expect. What we didn’t have was a Dr. who had the time to spend time with us and answer questions. It was a rush every time. When my ex went into labor we were in the ER & the nurses would come in check monitors, hurry out & looked puzzled. I finally had enough & asked them what was going on. They said they called the Dr. but he hadn’t returned the calls yet & that our sons heart rate was fluctuating. Me freaking out I said this is a hospital and find a qualified Dr. to replace the one who isn’t answering. He did finally show up & with shitty bed side manner said we are going to do a C-section because it seems the cord is wrapped around his neck. Now I really freaked out but luckily knew the anesthesiologist who assured me everything would be fine & it turned out so.

    Also have 3 daughters ages 20, 19 & youngest just turned 16 last month. With the girls we had a different Dr. an older local man who delivered babies, loved to farm & enjoyed talking with you about how much happiness is going to be coming along with each child. Get a Dr. who is really good but as important they need to have time & understanding when they meet with you & you have questions.

    1st kid sanitize everything constantly & so protective (ex wife mostly). Other 3, fuck it the kids are damn resilient & it’s ok that the food the youngest is eating is because one of the kids was helping and dropped it on the floor & gave it to them. So many times making cookies when they were young that the dough or spoon would fall on the counter or floor & I would get a look from them & a sweet smile saying it’s ok & it was.

    Breast feeding as mentioned is something that works for some & not for others. For us it was fine with all 4 kids & they really did have very little sickness. Another couple we had lamaze class with & became friends with it didn’t work for them. Maybe their daughter got more colds but nothing significant. I can tell you that breastfeeding is tiring & stress full @ the beginning because Mom is so tired. Both of you will be very tired in the beginning for sure. I can tell you that I had a really nice recliner & after dinner, dishes & mom would feed the kids when they were babies I would read to them & have the kids fall asleep on me in the recliner. Was pretty awesome & sure do miss those days lots.

    Take plenty of pictures & save them on a reliable hard drive. When my kids were young it was film then digital & my ex has most all of the kids pictures from over the years in scrapbooks. I told her & the lawyers I wanted a copy or digital file of them & still waiting for them after a court order. Haven’t pressed really but would like to look through them for sure.

    • Last modifed 2 months, 1 week ago
    #51152

    oipaul
    Grom

    Don’t forget you both need to take care of yourselves, get as much sleep as you can, maintain excercise, try to eat right, etc. My first 2 years were a f’ing blur, once they start sleeping (or if you’re lucky they sleep right of the bat), walking and talking it gets a lot easier.

    #51156

    Chavez
    Grom

    It’s easy to say ‘just enjoy it” but like every thing else in life, there are good times and rough patches. It goes fast. You don’t sleep well anymore, even when they are older. I constantly worry about the older boys who are out of the house and my youngest who is more like I was back when I was his age. But man, watching them grow up has been the most incredible thing I will ever experience. It’s an awesome trip, so yes, ENJOY it, all of it.

    #51161

    LBCrew
    Grom

    Get a bottle of good champaign and a fine Cuban. Finish them both.

    Then strap yourself in good for a very long and bumpy ride.

    Before you know it, they’re grown… and you’ll look back wonder… what the fock just happened!?

    #51162

    Good stuff guys, thank you all.

    #51163

    smitty
    Grom

    Keep a hat on that lady for at least a month. She just got out of 98.6!

    I have a 19yr old and the only advice I can give is simple – spend time with your child. There will be good and bad days but all a kid really wants from their parents is their love and time. Dont take some shitty job where you have to travel. They are only young once. You won’t get this time back so make the most of it.

    #51167

    DosXX
    Grom

    Kids observe their parents more often than many parents probably realize. Be aware of this and try hard to set a good example in behavior, speech, outlook and ethics for them to emulate.

    Actions speak louder than words, and kids hate hypocrites. None of us are perfect, and we all have our bad and weak moments. For whatever reason, kids seem to better recall the bad or stupid things parents do rather than the good. But they do want to be able to trust and depend on their parents. And although when older they may not act like it, our kids actually do want our guidance in many aspects of life.

    Kids need a solid moral foundation from which to face what life throws at them. Unfortunately, at times it may feel like a parent must battle against current society norms to raise children to be responsible, clear thinking adults.

    Be there for your wife. She will need your support. This is a bigger change for her. Postpartum depression is not a myth. Also note, when Mom’s happy, everyone is happy

    It might seem a sacrifice at times, but family comes first. Put in the time. You won’t regret it later.

    #51184

    Good post DoxXX. I would echo all of that. And what the other mo’ stokah’s have said.

    A solid foundation is an unconditional loving relationship that models what we are trying to teach them. They are acute hypocrisy detectors, and can rapidly adopt our bad behaviors. Parents do need to set boundaries, but helping them see the value because they are they are there for their good, and that we trust in them because we abide in them as well. Eventually they will adopt them on their own, because they have learned their merit. And don’t be afraid to let them fall or fail, there is great lessons to be learned. Pain and suffering have their purpose. Just use wisdom and grace to help mitigate and help protect from the serious or costly mistakes. It is a balance, to help them avoid life changing / damaging mistakes and yet not “helicoptering”. It’s a beautiful thing when they finally grow up, are making decisions on their own, and you enjoy their company and conversation as functioning adults. I’m at that season now with my daughter.

    And someone once said “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion”, so what the has been said already here about spending quality time with your child building the relationship with your children is an invaluable investment.

    So, as others have said, invest your time in your family, help mom. How you love you spouse, family, and others will equip them to deal with life and all the relationships they will have in their lifetime.

    Oh, and of course, a healthy respect for the creator and His creation goes a long way too.

    I anticipate you will do well, as you have the energy and stoke for what is ahead.

    Godspeed on this new road brother!

    #51185

    So much wisdom in this group, I love all you guys!

    #51189

    CWhite
    Grom

    DP, the diaper rash in the below link is from a local doctor. He was old style doctor that would still make house calls when I was a kid. It always worked better than any other for our kids.

    You will be surprised how often you might need it. Babies seem to get rash or irritated from numerous things. Most of the time it’s diarrhea, sometimes clothing, soap or detergents.

    https://www.snowbalm.com/SnowBalm.com/About_Snow_Balm.html

    Also, be careful when going outside & making sure they are protected from the sun. My son was 6 months old & was really the 1st day with him @ the beach for more than an hour. We had him under the umbrella & light sheet covering his beach play pen. He got sun from the reflection off the sand & pretty burnt on his cheeks. Really young under 6 months they recommend not using sunscreen. Felt so bad but @ the beach you couldn’t see him have the slightest change in color or redness. Not until we got home & gave him a bath did it seem to bother him & he was miserable sleeping that night.

     

    #51190

    DP, the diaper rash in the below link is from a local doctor. He was old style doctor that would still make house calls when I was a kid. It always worked better than any other for our kids. You will be surprised how often you might need it. Babies seem to get rash or irritated from numerous things. Most of the time it’s diarrhea, sometimes clothing, soap or detergents. https://www.snowbalm.com/SnowBalm.com/About_Snow_Balm.html Also, be careful when going outside & making sure they are protected from the sun. My son was 6 months old & was really the 1st day with him @ the beach for more than an hour. We had him under the umbrella & light sheet covering his beach play pen. He got sun from the reflection off the sand & pretty burnt on his cheeks. Really young under 6 months they recommend not using sunscreen. Felt so bad but @ the beach you couldn’t see him have the slightest change in color or redness. Not until we got home & gave him a bath did it seem to bother him & he was miserable sleeping that night.

    Thanks for the tips, I will be careful with the rashes and I definitely want to avoid getting her sun burnt.

    #51198

    All the good adive has been given

     

    deffo take care of yourself too, make sure you work out a little bit, either surfing or jogging (in baby stroller can hang out AND exercise), its super easy to get fat(ter) when taking care of a baby

    before you know it, you will be pushing the little one into waves, infant/baby/toddler is a short ‘season’ of life, dont spend it in a haze, or the memories will evaporate

     

    best luck my guy!

    #52231

    A lot of good advice already given here. Will try to add a few things that seemed to work well for us, with the caveats that 1) my daughter’s only 3 and a half and I only have one, so I have no fucking idea what to expect going forward, and 2) there’s a whole lot of uncertainty/unknowns and no answer key, so I often feel like my wife and I are pretty bad parents, but then I look at most other parents (including a lot of my friends who have similarly-aged kids) and think (to myself) that all of them are even worse. I’m kidding… sort of… but I did notice that having kids made my wife and I (silently, and very much tried to resist this but it sort of just happens) way more judgmental of our friends and their parenting decisions… giving a 6 month old an ipad to zone out with for hours on end, for example.

    Anyway, enough negativity. Things that seemed to work well for me/us:

    1. Probably most importantly, I was adamant about being completely capable of caring for the baby without my wife’s help or input (with the obvious exception of breastfeeding) basically from the day we brought her home. That’s not to say I refused her help or suggestions, but there was never a question that she could go out and leave me alone with the baby indefinitely and things would be just fine. You’d be surprised how many of my friends took such a passive role that even at a year old their wives were hesitant to leave them alone with the kid for even a few hours. You can probably imagine the kind of resentment that builds up in this situation, where the mom never gets any “off” time because she doesn’t trust dad.
    2. I’d encourage trying to spend some time alone with your daughter every single day. This is important for you bonding with her (she will still be far more closely bonded with her mom early on no matter what, but it’s important to establish your own independent connection with her), and it’s imperative that your wife gets some down time and a break from full on mommy mode at some point every day, for both hormonal and sanity reasons. At a minimum this can be playing with her in a different part of the house, but even better is walks/runs in a stroller or driving to get groceries, run errands, check the waves, etc. (both of these are good when she is having trouble napping).
    3. Similarly, I took the view that my wife should be completely capable of solo indefinite child care ASAP (this is obviously imperative in order to surf). That’s far more common/instinctive, but I’ve seen cases where after months or years the mom was too overwhelmed/uncomfortable to be alone for a long time either, and that’s obviously a disaster. Also, I was adamant about taking a fully active role in making basically all decisions, from minor to major. This led to more tension at times between my wife and I in the short term (though to be clear, I’m not saying by any means I refused to compromise/defer, I just didn’t completely abdicate my role in decision-making like so many new dads do), but I think was imperative in the context of bigger picture marriage dynamic. I’ve seen plenty go down the road of “mom knows best when it comes to babies, so I’ll let her take the lead” and a couple years later you realize your wife is the boss of the household and you have to basically get a signed permission slip to go grab a beer with your buddies. Also, in some cases I do believe that a mom’s essentially biological inability to listen to her baby cry gets in the way of doing what’s best for the baby. For us this first manifested with sleep training… while our daughter was a fairly good sleeper and we never let her cry for hours on end, I was adamant about her learning to self-soothe as early as possible. And this sometimes meant letting her cry for a few minutes before she settled down (I know this is a controversial topic, this is the approach we chose and I was thrilled with the results, but not looking to get in a debate or suggest it’s what anyone else should do), though only after we had given her plenty of milk, changed her, etc. (basically ruled out any other reason she could be crying). My wife rationally agreed it was necessary/best, but in the moment was completely incapable of hearing the baby cry for even a couple minutes, and would not have been capable of sticking to the approach that we had both agreed on were I not there. It’s even more relevant now at 3 years old when we have to correct misbehavior… my wife is still constantly tempted to make exceptions, allow second and third chances, not follow through on punishments, and generally just be easily manipulated because it’s so hard for her to hear our child cry. I don’t like seeing seeing my daughter upset either, but I do believe there’s a biological difference in the way it affects dad vs. mom, and sometimes dad’s greater capability for emotional detachment is necessary to do what’s best for the kid, and in those times I feel it’s my responsibility to hold firm no matter how angry my wife gets at me over it. I have friends who always backed down in these situations in order to keep the peace, or because “mama knows best,” or some other shit. See earlier comment about permission slips for how that turned out.
    4. Travel early and often. The thought of traveling with a newborn seems daunting at first (especially for mom). The instinct is to keep them as safe as possible, which taken to the logical extreme means never leaving the house, but quite honestly it’s astronomically easier to travel with a newborn than a 2 or 3 year old, both flying and driving. And you want to establish the pattern early, and get the logistics down to a science for yourself. Our first out of state road trip was at 6 weeks and quite honestly I regret waiting that long. A newborn is essentially another piece of carry on luggage that occasionally needs milk or a diaper change. A 3 year old, comparatively, is more like one of those disgruntled and violent methheads you see getting arrested on Cops. Travel as much as you can when they’re young, it only gets harder. Also, plane tickets are free before 2 years old. Take advantage. My daughter went on 18 flights before she turned two, and almost all of those went mostly to completely smoothly (to be fair, it wouldn’t be quite as ridiculously high if not for her frequent flights with my wife to visit her dad when he became terminally sick, but there were also three NJ to CA vacations in there). It’s a bit of a sobering reality when all of a sudden a family trip by plane requires three round trip tickets instead of two.
    5. Kind of an extension of 4: while there’s certainly a significant change to your lifestyle, I recommend still trying to continue doing all the things you and your wife love to do, and just bring your kid along for the ride (this works well for early risers who have active lifestyles and appreciate nature, not so applicable for those who sleep in late and go out drinking till 2 am every weekend… fans of that lifestyle seem to have a tougher adjustment to being parents in my observation). Show her all the things you love about life and the world firsthand. Of course many activities become logistically far more complex and more of a hassle and therefore less purely enjoyable at the surface, but keep in mind the end goal, to teach her about the world you know and love, and to share the things you love with her. This philosophy has worked very well for us (so far), and seems much more satisfying for all than when new parents take the approach of “well, my life’s essentially over now that I have a kid, I can’t go anywhere and I can’t do anything because it’s too expensive and too much of a hassle so I’ll just sit inside with the tv on all day.” I found it pretty easy to sustain this approach with a newborn. It gets harder as they become mobile and opinionated, but I still adhere to the general philosophy.
    6. We prioritized sleep above all else basically from the start. It worked well for us, though who knows how much was payoff of the approach we used and how much was luck. Pretty much all of our friends and relatives dismissed our success as “you’re so lucky she was born a good sleeper,” but we also put a ridiculous amount of time and effort into sleep training early on (researching it, debating it, arguing bitterly over what to in a few isolated cases), probably far more than most of those chalking it up to luck did. So who knows. By 7-8 weeks she was going to sleep easily and sleeping through the night aside from a couple wake ups for breastfeeding. And not too long after that she was consistently going to sleep right at 7 with no difficulty, I would give her a bottle of milk at 5 am when i got up to surf/workout (she’d still be mostly asleep for this), and then right back to bed till 8 or 9. It was awesome. Sleep is everything. PM me if any questions about this… too controversial a topic to wanna go into detail here.
    7. Short surf sessions became my bread and butter, and allowed me to still cumulatively get a good amount of water time. Having a kid simply means being astronomically more busy from minute to minute. Laundry, dishes, keeping house clean/organized, and packing/unpacking for everything from a trip to the grocery store to a vacation become exponentially more complex. Plus once they become mobile either you or someone else you trust has to have eyes on them pretty much every waking moment for a year or two. It can take a miracle to carve out 3-4 hours in a day to surf. But I found it still quite feasible to find a free hour here and there most days (assuming your wife is comfortable being alone with the baby, and you are going out of your way to give your wife regular down/off time as well to keep things equitable), especially for dawn patrol once my daughter was sleeping through the night. The effort to payoff ratio changes, especially in the winter, and plenty of my friends would give me shit for spending 40 minutes driving, suiting up, and changing out of wetsuite only to get a 20 minute, 1-3 wave session in the middle of the winter. And yeah, on a case by case basis it’s a bit absurd. But then you get to daylight savings and realize you’ve been getting out 2 or 3 times a week in solid winter surf and the same friends who were talking shit haven’t even touched their boards in six months. It’s not a choice between short sessions and long ones, it’s between short sessions and not surfing at all anymore.

    Other than that, basically everything everyone else said. Huge cliche to say it goes faster than you realize, but already so true after only 3.5 years and I’m sure will feel even 100x more like that as my daughter gets older. And just to reiterate: I have no idea wtf I’m doing. I think I’m doing my best most of the time, but every single day there are things I could’ve done better too. I guess we’ll see in 15-20 years how things turn out? Just kidding, that’s almost definitely the worst possible mindset to take (though it’s the one I default to if I’m not careful). Much better to just enjoy each day, enjoy the moment, and take none of it for granted.

    • Last modifed 1 month, 2 weeks ago
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