Category Archive : Practical Dad Skills

A lot of what we are sold today relates to our well being and staying healthy, to help us manage stress better, build relationships or lose weight. We are told to purchase items, experiences or services because they will make life easier, help us unwind or give us something to look forward to. And because life is stressful with all of its responsibilities, we are always looking for an answer to what will make life easier, and what will get us through the day. It isn’t anybody’s fault that we think like this, it is part of the way the human brain thinks and how it protects us. When we look at the fight, flight and freeze response, our brains way of dealing with danger, it is geared towards avoiding stress and finding an easier way to do things. It has helped us stay alive for this long, as well as helping us develop new technologies over time to keep us safe and make life easier. However, we have all experienced at some point in our lives the feeling of stress, and some of us may have also experienced depression and anxiety. While there are many possible reasons and triggers for stress and mental health related illnesses, following these good mental health tips can not only help you get through each day, but may help you to be more resilient when things don’t go so well.

Any information included in this post is of a general nature and for informational purposes only. If you require support specific to your needs please seek support from your relevant health professional.

(more…)

Prior to my daughter being born, I was the type of guy that was happy to look at a baby and pull faces but if offered to hold them I would usually decline. Not because I was averse to them, but because I didn’t know how to hold them. They seemed so small and fragile, and I felt so clumsy that I thought it best for their safety (and my own) that I steer clear. Adding to this, I had thoughts of ‘what if I drop them?’, or ‘what if I break them?’ or ‘what if they squirm out of my hands?’, all fueling this fear of holding babies. So I stuck to my policy of ‘look, don’t touch’ and waited until they were at an age where they could walk and play before I started really engaging with them. Then once I knew my wife was pregnant, holding a baby was something I could only avoid for so long! I had to figure it out, or I would miss out on so much potential bonding time (plus have to deal with feeling guilty about not helping out as much as I could). Luckily for me, even with all the research I did, when the time came to hold my daughter it felt natural, and I almost just knew how to do it automatically. But that isn’t always everyones experience. So here are 3 common ways to hold your newborn and some tips to get you started. Remember, like any skill it takes preparation and practice, and mental resilience, to develop.

(more…)

Before you became a father, life had enough responsibilities already. You have your role at work and responsibilities there. You may have responsibilities with your own family that need to be attended to. If you complete volunteer work or even a sport/activity in your personal time you will have responsibilities there. Within your relationship you will have responsibilities to your partner. Plus on top of all of this are any financial responsibilities that are tied to these life areas. Juggling these responsibilities is busy enough as it is, but then once you enter fatherhood and become a parent, your responsibilities increase significantly and place pressure on all other areas of life. Learning how to be a dad is challenging enough within its own right, but learning how to add the responsibilities of fatherhood to your already full life, and keeping it all going, takes the difficulty level up a notch.

(more…)

You’ve just had a baby, you’re in the midst of diapers, feeds and feeling like a zombie. The last thing on your mind is imagining how you want life to look in five years. If you were like me, it was hard enough to see past the next day let alone what life would look like years from now. But this baby that you now have responsibility for is the exact reason why you need to think ahead. Not only because of the increased financial responsibility, but because at the center of every family are the parents, and it is important for us as parents to consider the life we want for ourselves, because this will help with our happiness, which in turn will help with your childs happiness. Though, it is probably best to wait out the first 3-6 months, you have enough on your plate!

(more…)

Nobody likes being sick, and we don’t like seeing others get sick either. When you’re at work and someone comes in coughing and sneezing, you steer clear and hope you don’t catch the bug. As a parent, my thoughts were always on ‘when will my daughter get sick’ and ‘how to prevent them from getting sick’, or ‘can newborns get sick?’ Especially when I started seeing other babies fall ill. After getting about 9 months in, my daughter had been illness free, and I was thinking to myself that she must have some superhuman immune system and we’ll be in the clear by her 1st birthday. And then, it happened.

(more…)

I have always struggled to get into regular exercise habits. I start up, get into a really good pattern for 3-4 months, and then something happens like falling sick or going on holiday, where I stop working out for 1-2 weeks. After this, it takes me a good few months to get back into a routine before the same cycle occurs again. In fact, once my wife fell pregnant, I again attempted to get into a good routine with the hopes it would continue once baby arrived. I even managed to break my old cycles and workout for a solid 6-7 months, 4 days a week for a little over an hour each morning. I also started to see some physical results of my training (as well as an increase in strength and stamina).

(more…)

Becoming a dad is a life changing experience, but one of the hardest parts of this change is to know how to best support your partner. There is no doubt that for new mothers out there, it is a dramatic change for them to go through. Physically they have had to carry a baby and endure those body changes, they have had to give birth and endure the recovery post birth (whether it be a C-section or natural birth), and then for many they now become the primary carer looking after baby more days than not. And for the dad’s (or the non-primary caregiver), it’s trying to navigate your own experience and making sense of it all, trying to take care of this little human and then supporting your partner with the changes that they themselves are going through. This can be an overwhelming sense of responsibility, and lots of dad’s (myself included) find themselves asking how to be a supportive husband or spouse in the best way possible.

(more…)

When my wife was pregnant, we attended some pregnancy classes together to learn about life after birth, and everything that is involved in looking after a baby. One of the things they talked about was playtime and bonding with your child and how important this was. It all made sense, and we could see how important it was, and they took us through some ideas on how to play, and how this helped with baby’s development. But you see, as I mentioned in my post Expectations Vs Reality – What To Expect As A New Dad’ I had no experience playing with newborns, or even babies really. My experience was toddlers and above, so I really had no idea what play time was actually like for a newborn.

(more…)

How to find time to relax with a newborn, a question I also found myself asking regularly, often coming up with the same answer – you don’t find time! Relaxation becomes a thing of the past when you are caring for a little human, and you may often question when you will be able to find the time. And in my experience, what I found was not that I ‘found time’ to relax with a newborn, but rather I had to change my mindset towards what I was already doing. Finding ‘relaxation’ within my duties as a father, enjoying the moment and practicing this idea you may have heard about called ‘mindfulness’.

(more…)

There are many questions that I began asking once my daughter had come along. How often does a newborn need to feed? How many wet nappies is normal? Is my baby’s poo colour normal? But no question was more pressing than finding out how to get sleep with a newborn. As I mentioned in my previous post ‘Expectations VS Reality – What to Expect as A New Dad‘, there are quite a few changes that occur when you become a father, but the most challenging change I found was adjusting to the new sleep pattern that a newborn entails. This was such a challenge that I found myself Googling for answers a few times a day in the first few weeks. I don’t know if I ever found a single answer that worked, but I tried a lot of strategies that were recommended and my wife and I were lucky enough to find some semblance of normal sleep after the first 7 – 8 months. Hopefully through reading my journey, it will help you with yours.

(more…)