Becoming a dad

I just become a dad and writing down my things that helped me prepare and overcome stress. I hope you find them valuable.

Six weeks after - things are settling down... or are they?

02 Nov 2019 ~3 minutes read » wellbeing

I wrote this piece one day before my baby boy’s 6 weeks “birthday”. We certainly feel more competent, and we started to incorporate a bit of non-baby ventures into our life. That seemed really important. Engaging in activities from the pre-baby era, even the smallest ones, helped me feel that the whole world doesn’t revolve around the baby and things are slowly settling down. That wasn’t necessarily the case.

I fell into the fallacy of having more time and attempted to sort out a few things that were pending for a prolonged time. I wanted to get rid of things I don’t use anymore. Finish a few projects started ages ago. Complete the paperwork that was piling up since he had arrived. All of that giving some image of being in control but eventually driving my attention away from my baby. Though sometimes that was just a justification for my absence through the busyness I created by myself.

This wasn’t a great day. He was unsettled, and we couldn’t identify any reason. Till today, with a few exceptions, checking if his belly is full and nappy is dry was sufficient to make his problems go away. Maybe it was some stress that accumulated in him and had to be released. Trying to figure out what’s wrong with an unsettled baby is emotionally draining, but somehow I wasn’t upset. I’ve managed to remind myself about that every day he’s bombarded by new stimuli that need to be embraced. I can’t imagine what’s going through his little mind. Sometimes he stares on one object for a couple of minutes only to start crying without any apparent reason. I’m not upset, I’m tired. And I’m committed to being there for him especially when he’s fussy.

On the other hand, it was a pleasant day. Things turned around about noon. I met with a friend for lunch, and I brought my baby boy with me. We chatted for quite a time about parenting, work, life… All the things that matter and some of the things that don’t. It’s fascinating how becoming a dad opens new pathways to making friends or having conversations that wouldn’t happen before.

After six weeks, I’m also a more independent dad. Taking my boy for lunch and a walk for a longer time is not a hassle anymore. That obviously includes the whole fun of eating lunch with a single hand and changing diapers in public places. We spent some quality time together while mummy was running errands. Win-win for everyone.

At the end of the day, we ran an experiment, and I fed him with a bottle for his first time. Second actually, but that’s a whole different story. It’s such a rewarding act to feed a baby. He was exclusively breastfed, and feeding was the only thing I wasn’t involved when it comes to taking care of him. Offering him a bottle and watching him as he sips through it was a fantastic experience and one step for me becoming even more confident dad.

So, it was a good day after all.

Takeaways from today:

  • Sometimes babies are fussy, and we can’t do much about it except for being with them. Babies are not mean or ill-intentioned. Every day brings new details about this new world they are learning, and it will be overwhelming from time to time.
  • Being a dad gives opportunities to make friends with new people. That gives a great chance to develop our support networks.
  • Packing a nappy bag is not hard - good preparation builds up the confidence.
  • I didn’t realize how fulfilling is feeding own baby :)