How do I know I am ready to be a first time dad?
If you have been seriously asking yourself lately “how should I prepare to have my first child as a first time dad?…”, then you are almost ready to start a family.
When both you and your wife start seriously discussing babies and are also looking to see a gynaecologist in this regard, you know you are there.
But there are other things that you must be prepared with as well. You need to check your finances, get maternity insurance, start a savings plan for unexpected expenses that will positively come your way, adjust your work and social schedule, get nutritious home-cooked food, surround yourself with calm and also expect delays without ever giving up hope.
So are you prepared to dive into parenthood and welcome your first child as a first time dad?
Believe me, you’ll enjoy every bit of the preparation. There would be some tense, confusing and blank moments, but that’s all part of the game. Each one of us
Now, let’s get down to business and find out what every man must know and do as he prepares to be a dad for the first time. Right below is a quick-view infographic and right below the infographic are the details.
1. Talk to your partner about the new beginnings
First things first. Very practically put, a baby is a responsibility, apart from the endless joy.
So, both of you need to be in agreement that the time is right to have a baby. Speaking of which, there really is no perfect time to start a family.
It all depends on how comfortable you are mentally, physically, financially and age-wise (in your 20’s you have time on your hand, not so much in your late 30’s and early 40’s).
But overall, you don’t have to wait for perfect conditions, so long as both of you are ready for it.
Once you have decided that you want a baby, get down to things as quickly as possible – like you’d do with any other well thought out decision in life.
2. Meet a gynaecologist
Yes, that’s for you
If you are in it together (which you are 😊), this one is an important part because you get a better understanding of what’s involved in the whole process.
You’ll be asked to go through a series of tests along with your wife to ensure that you are physically fit to have a baby.
In all probability, these tests could involve a sperm-quality test as well as an AIDS test. So, don’t be alarmed, (most first time dads are!)… you are not being judged. It’s the usual procedure these days and every couple goes through it. Just go with the flow because it’s all for the good.
To locate a good gynaecologist, talk to your family and friends and go for the person that sounds the most comfortable
You could also try a search on Google with the ‘near me’ functionality or use an app like Practo, to find your gynaecologist.
3. Check your finances
As a first time dad, remember that your decision to welcome a baby into your family has a money angle to it. Your expenses will certainly increase and cover new territory from the moment you decide to start a family.
The first would be fees for the gynaecologist and the medical tests. Once your wife is pregnant, medical visits will be frequent and you’ll have to cover it, apart from your regular monthly expenses.
And if we are talking about traditional Indian customs and ceremonies, there’ll be lump sum money involved there too.
For instance, the ceremonies for the new-born that involve giving the
You’ll agree that it’s comfortable buying expensive things in instalments rather than buying in
It would also be a good idea to find out (from family, friends and the internet) the cost of things like baby supplies and furniture etc so that you know what to expect in terms of spending.
Since your finances will be stretched without doubt, it’s best that you plan it all out well.
4. Get maternity insurance
This is the best time to go for an insurance plan that will cover the pregnancy and delivery expenses if you haven’t already considered it. The earlier done, the better. Most first time dads wait till the last moment.
I had opted for the Religare Joy Health Insurance Plan that gave me a short and comfortable 9-month waiting period for maternity related claims. That’s what I fell for as a last-minute thing.
You can check out some of the better maternity health insurance plans in India here.
Once you have decided on an insurance provider, check with the hospital you have decided on for delivery, preferably one with a well-equipped Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), to see if they are a network hospital of the insurance provider.
Remember to keep all your insurance documents, even emails you exchange with your insurance agent, organised so you can retrieve it the moment you need it.
You could keep all your physical insurance documents in one box – labelled clearly – and all your insurance-related emails in a separate folder in your email inbox.
Most importantly, always keep your policy number in your wallet along with the basic details of your policy. Add to that the telephone number of your insurance agent as well as the helpline number and email ID of the insurance provider.
5. Start a savings plan to meet surprise expenses
While you check your finances, make “
You need to keep aside a fixed sum every month to meet unexpected expenses not covered by your medical insurance or by your “
Therefore, keep aside a tidy sum. And do not touch this money.
Trust me, you’ll be a happy man when the sudden and surprising need arises and you find that you do not have to stress yourself to meet it.
Unimagined, unplanned expenses will pop up through out the pregnancy period and immediately after the baby is born. It’s this extra savings that will save the day for you.
Probably, the best thing to do is to open a separate bank account (nickname it the first time dad account…) and save regularly just for this purpose.
6. Avoid late night movie binges
Now that you have decided to take the plunge, it’s time to be together as much as you can. You can get this done by making easy changes to your work and social schedules.
And also to your before-bed-time routine.
This means avoiding bringing your work home, late night movies and other screen time because these are a waste of energy. They drain you and make you tired easily. Therefore, try to avoid these as much as possible.
You need to make that mental shift to get this working as a first time dad. And to make that mental shift, make small changes to your environment.
Get to work early and finish early.
Secondly, remove all the clutter from your bedroom to energize it positively. Make it a warm and relaxing space. Go baby poster shopping with your wife and hang them in your bedroom, if you like.
Also, from now on, whenever you are working on your laptop, avoid resting it on your lap. Continuous exposure to heat from the laptop can lower your sperm quality and you don’t want that to happen now!
Lastly, remember to very consciously keep your cell phones in your back pocket or backpack when you are carrying it around.
7. Get nutritious home-cooked food
You are what you eat. Therefore, it makes sense to eat sensibly. And that means good home-cooked food – cooked fresh every day, with fresh ingredients.
If it’s just the two of you at home, and it’s going to be that way till baby arrives or even after, now would be a good time to hunt for a cook.
If you have a cook but you are unhappy with the cooking, again, this is the right time to look for a new one.
I say this for a good reason. A couple of months into her pregnancy, your wife could hate cooking smells because of all the hormonal changes happening in her body.
For another, this is also the ideal time to choose a good, healthy diet routine that you can continue when your wife is pregnant.
If you can, avoid broiler chicken entirely. However, if you must eat chicken choose home-grown or free-range chicken.
Similarly, there are also certain fruits like grapes, apples and mangoes that you could have less off or avoid completely. They could quite possibly be laden with harmful pesticides and chemicals.
If you must have them, wash them thoroughly with cold water. However, don’t trust your cook to do this for you – wash your vegetables before she arrives every day.
Furthermore, it’s better to soak your vegetables (particularly tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and spinach) and fruits in salt water or vinegar water before having them. Learn more about it here.
8. Surround yourself with calm
Work can be stressful. Sometimes social life can also be stressful. So you need to consciously try not to bring the stress back home. I know this is easier said than done, especially for a first time dad. So here are a few tips to make your home a sanctuary of calm.
As a matter of fact, mood lighting and sweet aromas can calm any place. Cushions can add cosiness. It’s the perfect setting you’d want to come home to.
Add soothing music that the two of you like and things would be just right.
Here’s an informative article on how to make your home more relaxing. You don’t need a home like the ones shown in the article, but you could pick up some really neat tips.
Another avenue of calm is prayer. If both of you believe in prayers, you could begin praying together regularly. It would be a transforming experience that would bring the two of you even more close to each other.
9. Expect delays, but never give up hope!
Would you hear ‘good news’ a couple of months after the two of you decided to start a family? Maybe. Maybe not.
However, if it’s a ‘maybe not’ don’t be discouraged! It’s not the end of the world.
Firstly, give yourselves time. Be together as much as you both can. But also give room to each other. Talk about babies. Visit friends and families with babies. Decide a name for your baby – one for a boy and one for a girl. This would be a joyous exercise you could do together.
You could even shop for gender-neutral baby things like mittens, scarves etc in neutral colours (meaning other than pink and blue).
Secondly, going on a short holiday together would also be a good idea. You don’t have to splurge on the holiday. It could just be a weekend getaway to some cosy place near you.
Research your destination on websites like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Holiday IQ, Thrillophilia etc before you decide on a peaceful location. This would be another happy thing that you could do together – the research I mean.
Finally and most importantly, keep up the good vibes. Stay happy and positive consciously. It won’t be long before you hear ‘good news’! 😊
Disclaimer: As much as these are the true experiences of the blogger and the people whom he knows along with research online, the tips, opinion and advice shared in this post and this blog cannot replace trained, professional expertise. Use your discretion and whenever in doubt, seek professional help.