Top tips from a first time father

Paul Clifford shares how it all began

Top tips from a first time father

Our baby is six months old now and in many ways all the panic, worry and confusion that my wife and I went through during the pregnancy is a distant memory as we deal with the daily changes in our little girl.

However, preparing for the birth itself throws up all kinds of emotions and challenges. Of course, women have the harder part of the bargain in terms of physical and mental strain. Your wife’s body is going through all kinds of things and she’ll no doubt be reading conflicting advice in books, on the internet and in social media groups, plus be getting tonnes of solicited and unsolicited words of wisdom from friends, family and complete strangers.

Helping her wade through the information overload is a huge job for any dad-to-be, and often leaves little room to look after your own mental wellbeing. While snapping “it’s tough for me, too, you know?!” might feel like a good idea, it’s probably not the best way to deal with the issue.

Like with most things in life, I found that opening up and talking is the best policy, during a calm time when you’re both available to have a proper chat. There’s probably also a handful of people you know like me, who have been in the situation recently and can lend an ear, some sage advice or even a shoulder to cry on – whatever helps.

As long as you’re prepared to listen to their stories about sleep regression, teething problems and problematic tummy time sessions, you’ll do just fine.

If you have any questions or want to hear about a specific topic: timeoutkids@itp.com.

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