Becoming a dad for the first time is an immensely exciting and at the same time overwhelming experience. Your life will change in many unexpected ways and you might find yourself adjusting to new emotions and needs which you might not have prepared yourself for. Here are some of the key changes which you can expect to happen after your baby arrives. 

And Baby Makes Three

You might have entered the hospital as a couple, but you will definitely be leaving as threesome. From now on, your family unit will always include your baby. Holidays, meals, outings and events will need to include your baby and you will need to plan for baby’s needs. Whilst having a baby is a wonderful experience, you will need to know that the carefree days when you and your wife could take off on an adventure without having to do much planning in advance are probably going to be put on hold for at least another 18 years. 

No More “Me” Time

One of the hardest things for many new parents is the disappearance of “me” time. After getting married and settling into a routine, you probably still had a lot of time to yourself. You could pursue independent hobbies and activities, go home and veg out in front of the TV or read a book before bedtime. The arrival of a newborn will mean that you and your wife need to be ready 24x7 to deal with the round the clock needs of a young infant. Many parents will tell you that it took at least a year or 2 before they got to the point when they could read a book in its entirety or even finish watching a TV programme regularly. 

Your wife is also facing the same issues as you are. So try to take turns. Have times when she gets to do something on her own whilst you look after the baby, and arrange for her to do the same for you. 

Juggling Your Job at Work and at Home

You will find that coming home doesn’t mean that your “work” has ended. Most new dads end up having 2 jobs, operating on a shift-like system. You go to work during the day, and then come home to diaper changing, bottle feeding, baby carrying and soothing for the next 12 hours. 

Try to stay positive, this phase of your life will only last for about a year, in the meantime, try to come home from work early and try to get into a routine of shared responsibilities once you return home so that you and your wife can build some predictability around what needs to be done in the evenings and at night. 

Responsibilities and Insecurities

Many new dads feel worried about being able to provide financially for their new families. Between the cost of childcare, the possibility of your wife not working for few years and the costs of college, you might be concerned about the amount of money which you feel you will need to save and put away for the future. On top of this, you may feel insecure and emotionally off-kilter. Your needs are probably not being met and you might feel alone in trying to sort through them.

Reach out to some of your friends who have become fathers. Talk to them about how you are feeling. It helps to have someone to listen to you and help you work through your feelings. 

Supporting Your Wife

You will spend a lot of time supporting your wife. She will be going through a long period of physical recovery as well as emotional adjustment. Feeling tired and insecure about how effective she is as a parent will mean that she is likely to be more emotionally volatile, weepy, cranky and depressed than usual. 

Try to understand your wife and help her as much as you can. Knowing that you are there to support her will help her to get through any insecurities which she may have sooner and this will allow both of you to address your new roles more positively.

Feeling Tired All the Time

The first year after having a baby is defined mostly by a lack of sleep. Most new parents function on about 4 hours of sleep a night for months at a stretch. If you are working full time, then you won’t have the luxury of catching up on some sleep in the middle of the day. 

Difficult though it might be, try to remember that this state will not last forever. Baby will eventually grow up and adopt more regular sleeping habits. In the meantime, see if you and your wife can arrange to take turns at night. Maybe she might go to bed a little earlier than you and you could take the night shift until 1pm and then she could take over from 1pm to morning. This way, both of you will get at least 6 hours sleep a night.