Dads Tell: Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Dad

We wanted to hear from those with experience what it’s really like to be a father, so we put a call out to all Kidspot dads: “Tell us what you wish you knew before becoming a dad.”

They shared with us practical tips, funny anecdotes, emotional outpourings, and advice for those who are becoming a dad for the first time. Here’s some of what they shared.

But first … a limerick shared by Greydon:

Although it’s a rough ride to start
(you’re so worried you’re on the wrong path)
each second you spend,
with your new life-long-friend,
will fill up your (sleep-deprived) heart!

Tips for new dads

Tips for new dads

I wish I knew tricks for better sleep! I have baby number 2 now and we have figured out a few tricks that help. A shusher is a great tool, we’ve used it from day 1 and it indicates sleep time. A white noise machine helps with dulling all the other noises, including my snoring, wifey says! Also, a big busy day or especially a trip to the beach will tire baby out which generally leads to a far better sleep than if we have a chill day. – Peter

You’ll never be a perfect parent but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to better yourself. Observe how others raise their kids. Ask your parents for advice. Read books. Never stop learning. – Chris

There’s not actually much you can do with your newborn baby, as it’s either feeding or sleeping, so to feel really appreciated and useful, I’d bathe the baby every night. That was my one important job. Such a special bonding time too. – Chrus

They won’t be little for long, so enjoy those fun pre-school years, and make sure to read them lots of stories, and make them laugh a lot. Those are the memories they will cherish when they’re older. – Danny

I would like to have known that there are no magic answers to the questions, no book will tell you everything you need to know. Most of it comes with time and experience and every child is different, don’t stress if they don’t fit the mould. – Mark

I wish I knew it’s better to be well-prepared with all the essential shopping and do not leave anything to be done after the birth, because you get occupied right after childbirth (and try to adjust your sleeping routine). Moreover, it’s a good idea to keep some meals frozen so that in case you cannot manage healthy cooking, you will have an option to quickly heat up the saved food. Make good use of your time to give your spouse good rest and be there for your little one. – Adnan

To save your back in those first three months, make sure the bassinet and the change tables are at least as high as your waist. Stroller envy is also a thing. If you don’t splash out for the fancy wheels you will be checking out the other wheels whenever they pass you by or at a meet-up. And most of all it goes by so fast so speak with your employer and double down on your leave and get as much of it as possible as you will miss out on some moments that you can never capture again. – Neil

I wish I truly knew the time required for dealing with a newborn. You always hear stories about how sleep-deprived new parents will be and how there is no time to do anything else but care for the baby. However, no one truly understands this until they have experienced it! If I knew, I would have prepared a bit more and even taken more time off work. Other things I wished I knew are the importance of burping after feeding, how many diaper changes there are, how mums need a lot of emotional support and how breastfeeding can be difficult. I think the key is to stay persistent and support your partner through this period of change and it only gets better! So happy for the experience as my child is nothing but a blessing – can’t wait to experience the toddler stage! – Edwin

The eye-openers

eye-opening moments of fatherhood

I wish I knew … that one little person would change my life forever and make me far less selfish. I have learnt that it’s ok to show emotion and love and communicating your feelings is positive. The sense of responsibility can be overwhelming. – Ricky

I wish I knew … that baby acne is a thing! Freaked me out to see acne on my daughter’s face when she was a newborn! Thought it was only something teenagers got! – James

Time goes quick! So enjoy every moment while your kids are young, turn off the autopilot and take it all in because in no time you will have a 15-year-old son, who pulls away when you hug and kiss them, gets angry coz you borrow his t-shirts, who wears and puts holes in your good socks, laughs at you for jumping into the friendly basketball game with friends because that’s your way of being supportive and eats all the food and leaves without cleaning! – Kieran

I wish I knew exactly how little sleep I would get and how tough that would be! But it also affects how I look after my wife and need to keep the energy levels up. – Ali

I wish I knew that it’s ok to be a support that sometimes needs support too. For example, Google can be your best friend as well as an unhelpful sidekick. Finding the answer you want isn’t necessarily the same as what you need but you can pretty much Google anything to support your argument. Also – No one seems to tell you that as a new parent you will quite often turn into the world’s greatest problem-solving super baby whispering super sleuth late at night when trying to comfort an upset newborn. So looking back I wish I was more comfortable with being ok not knowing the answer and asking for help. It’s ok to be the support and ask for support too. – Jacob

I wish I would have known to go easier on myself. The first year and parenting experience as a father is nothing like what movies, the media, and even friends describe. There are ebbs and flows, energetic weekends, exhausted mornings, and everything that millions of others experience in their own unique way. I learned during that first year to be easy on myself, and know that we are all doing the best we can to be a great parent. – Arsenio

I wish I knew the weight of her worries and the mental load of a newborn. Mum’s the word when baby is born, but there is so much Dad can do as well to ease Mum’s mind. Offer her a massage, make sure her water is topped up, run her a bath, do the housework, have her lunch and snacks ready to grab on the go. At the very least. Mums are a force to be reckoned with for all they do and the devotion they have to persevere in hard times where they may feel unseen. – Matt

The emotional moments

First time dads

I wish I knew how much my little girl would steal my heart! – Ben

The rollercoaster of emotions while your partner is in labour can be so intense but seeing your baby for the first time is so magic. – Sean

I wish I knew patience, I know it’s a huge part of being a parent and especially with young toddlers. Everything takes time and only in time can things grow and mature, just like myself. – Kelly

I wish I knew how much I would be affected every time my children were sick. I found them being sick very stressful. Now that they are older I would tell other Dads that you don’t need to rush to the A&E every time they are unwell. – Rob

It’s OK to be nervous – no 2 kids are the same so there’s no chance you’ll ever be fully prepared. You’ll learn as you go and trusted, wise people are always happy to answer your questions! – Aaron

You’ll never sleep the same again, don’t expect to eat a hot dinner for a while, getting ready to go out takes an extra 30min-1 hour. They are the best thing that will ever happen in your life. When they smile/laugh it is the best thing that you can ever experience. – Adam

The funny bits of fatherhood

Funny bits of fatherhood

That cute little baby can make poo shoot all the way from the nappy to the back of the neck and through layers of clothing and when you try to take off his clothes it spreads even worse – Berwyn

I wish I knew that babies get heavier the longer you hold them. Especially when they don’t want to be in their pushchair and you have to carry them for a couple of kilometres! – Perry

Overnight I would officially have a Dad bod. – Jamie

You really should have a cloth on hand to cover a little man’s boy parts at nappy change time or you will wear it! – Johnathan

Do not hold a just-fed baby up in the air lying down, they will be sick in your face! – Mike

I wish I knew … just how many soft play areas we would have to visit! – John

I wish I knew … that one of the children after getting married would come home with their wife and have two children of their own while living with us for eight years! – Rob

I was worried I was never going to get used to my boy’s slobber, but there’s nothing he can do that will gross me out anymore! Other kids still gross me out though haha. – Troy

I wish I knew how much poos and wees were involved. – Ethan

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