Doing something for the first time is often a challenge, isn’t it? According to a large majority of new dads, seeing their baby for the first time brings an unrivalled sense of pride, as well as a feelings of fear and inadequacy. Like any big change, parenthood requires certain adjustments to our lifestyles, and will be a constant process of discovery, learning, and emotion management.

We’ve interviewed several fathers on what it means to be a dad, and compiled them into a concise article. Just like the old adage says: “When there is a will, there will be a way”. If you’re reading this article, chances are you very much want to become a fantastic dad; if not, you may be looking for new ways to get your hubby to do your bidding. Whichever it may be, without further ado, here we go!

baby hugging dad

Beat the Self-Doubt

It is deeply rooted in modern society that men are to be the breadwinners of the household; the raging, alpha male who fights for his pack and keeps that warm and well fed. This is gradually changing with the wave of feminist movements, but it’s still entrenched within more conservative Asian societies. Without a doubt, this has led to more self-doubt for new dads (pardon the pun!).

Supporting a hungry, growing child is strain both financially and emotionally. A new dad may ask: “Can I provide for my family financially? Am I responsible enough to be a good dad and role model? What will my child think of me when she grows up?” These are legitimate concerns, but they should not hold you back from performing the task at hand to your best ability. Parenting works best with partnership and mutual support from a spouse, so realize that you are not in this alone. Besides, in Singapore, there are many government initiatives and avenues where a new dad can find information and peer support, one of them being the Dads for Life (DFL) movement.

So there’s no excuse. Go out there and be the awesomest dad ever.


Be Proactive and take Initiative

This is probably the most important tip. It’s important to educate yourself about parenthood, especially since your lady isn’t going to educate you any time soon – not if she’s as green as you are. Reading books and attending talks are just one of the many avenues to learn more about parenting. For those with a tighter purse, the internet is a superb source of information; just take what you read with a pinch of salt, and be sure not to test out unorthodox techniques on your wife or baby.

Be patient and you’ll definitely see great dad-improvements with time, from knowing how to do diapering, to handling a colicky baby, how to burp and bathe your baby, what foods should you baby eat, and even how to maximize play time effectiveness. Don’t be too selective of responsibilities, or to view baby care as a women-only task. Be-ready to get down and dirty with baby care, and take turns to wake up in the middle of the night. (The “I need to work tomorrow” excuse is soo outdated.)

Before you know it, this phase will soon pass, and you’ll be missing those times. So have fun and enjoy the process!


What about my Independence?

Fatherhood comes with a set of responsibilities, so expect your time with your buddies to decrease in the early years. From buying baby supplies, to trips between hospitals, not to mention working a full-time job to place bread on the table, life can be so much busier. The truth is, many dads find that it was these first few years that they really enjoyed and bonded with their child. Cherish the time that you have with your little tot, and you’ll be amazed at how fast she develops. Take pictures of her toothless grin before those pesky milk teeth start sprouting. Spend time being physically close with your child, as babies who are nurtured in loving relationships will develop optimally. Besides, the latest trend revolves around Dads having a cuddly torso and gentle paunch, known as the “Dad Bod”. There, dads are cooler.

Parenting does not spell the end of your social life. It’s important to understand and communicate within a marriage with regard to parenting responsibilities, in order to maintain a healthy relationship balance.


Support the New Relationship(s)

asian parent playing with baby girl in livingroom

You may have heard about the power of the mom-baby bond; it is every bit as true as they say. Particularly so in the months following birth, when all your baby needs for survival is her mother (men can’t product breast milk).

You may feel like you’re taking a backseat during the journey of parenthood, as all the attention revolves around mum and baby. What’s more, the affection coming from your spouse may be almost non-existent, as if all of it has suddenly been channeled to the baby. Therefore, it’s very important to be understanding towards your lady’s needs as she is adjusting to her role of motherhood, which is a huge challenge in itself. Be supportive towards her, and she’ll need your assistance for physically demanding tasks such as preparing the nursery, running errands, and even cooking. Be assured that the time will come in the future whereby your child will need her dad for guidance and direction!

 For more related articles, you may want to visit our new parents survival guide on important skills for new dads

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