By Luke Morgan
I’m Luke, dad of two Elijah and Dakota. I’m an electrician by trade, but my love and passion for being a father inspired me to create a blog where I could share my journey into fatherhood. I also have an Instagram account where you can get an insight into everyday life from a dad’s perspective.
Life has a funny way of pulling you in an uncertain direction; becoming a dad is truly the most incredible experience, thrilling, fulfilling, enlightening, humbling, scary at times, most definitely tiring, but most of all it’s unconditional.
“Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you; they are understating it.”
– Mike Myers
There’s No Such Thing As The Perfect Time
From an early age, I always knew I wanted to be a father, growing up, I was, for the most part, an only child. There is a massive 24 year age gap between my youngest sibling and me, so I suppose thinking about it, I’ve always had to be a role model for little ones to look up to, there have always been babies in my life.
I got into a relationship with my now wife at 18. Priorities for the next six years were not children; at that age, I think you’re still learning so much about yourself and what you want to do with your life. Although there was always the odd mention and the thought was still there.
We started trying around six years into our relationship, a sort of if it happens it happens kind of approach. It didn’t happen for six months.
When it finally did happen, even though we had been trying, it was still, a shock to the system. Am I ready? Am I secure money wise? Am I mentally prepared for this? These are all completely normal and rational questions; we still didn’t live together at this point.
From my personal experience, there is never going to be a perfect time in anybody’s life; we are all learning always; self-growth doesn’t end when you have kids. You grow more as a person. Looking back now two years and two babies later, I can honestly say I wish I’d become a father earlier.
Dad’s Main points to think about when considering having children:
- Are you in a secure, loving relationship?
- Is this 100% something both you and your partner want?
- Are you in a functional space mentally?
- Are you financially secure?
- Is your current job flexible?
- Do you have a safe space in which they can grow?
Even if you can answer all these questions you will never be fully prepared, don’t overthink it. The timing will never be perfect; you’ll learn as you go, and you will be fine.
Birth Doesn’t Always Go To Plan
You’ve just found out the incredible news; you’re going to become a dad; this takes a while to sink in. But you have nine months to prepare, right? You can plan it down to every detail; you attend all the appointments, the classes.
Then nine months down the line, all this preparation goes out the window. Don’t get me wrong I know a lot of people’s experiences go without a hitch, the people that tell you ”we were in and out of the hospital with our brand new little bundle of joy within hours.”
From my experience of my wife and me becoming parents of two in under two years, it doesn’t always go so smoothly. Sometimes no amount of preparation is enough; no two births are the same; it will take its unique course.
We have had various complications with both pregnancies and birth; you can read a more in-depth version along with some preeclampsia awareness on my blog.
Dad’s main tips on birth:
- Support your partner and their decisions, after all; we’re not the ones who have to do all the hard work.
- Seek out pregnancy and birth-related information yourself; you can never be too informed.
- Attend appointments and classes with your partner, don’t be afraid to get involved
- Don’t fret over it too much, when it comes to it; it’s going to run its course.
Finally, when it does come to the birth of the new addition to your family, whether it does go to plan or not, soak in every moment, it truly is a life-changing and extraordinary experience.
How to Feed A Newborn
You’ve just gone through the incredible experience of the birth of your newborn baby, you’re still lost in the moment, everything is hazy, and you’ve probably not slept for hours, emotions are running high, and you’re overwhelmed with joy and fear.
All of a sudden they place this tiny little being on your lap, all snuggled up into a blanket, pure innocence, untouched by the world. It suddenly dawns on you; you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. All that information you soaked up over the last nine months, that’s long gone.
I remember my first questions to the midwife, ”When do we feed him?” ”How do we know when he needs feeding?”.
So after some information from the midwives, I gave my son his first ever bottle. A moment I’ll never forget, the room was already full of family at this point, my wife resting, the hospital full of loud noises, just the general hustle and bustle, and it all just faded away. In that one moment, it was just me and my son, a truly beautiful once in a lifetime experience.
Dad’s main tips on feeding:
- Listen to your baby, they will let you know when they’re hungry
- For newborns don’t let them go over 4 hours without a feed
- Feed reclined but not lying down (you may find using a feeding cushion useful)
- Always have a cloth handy (expect to get some spit up)
- Keep them upright after feeding for half an hour
- Burp in between and after feeds
- Change nappy before feeding
I must add we elected to bottle feed our two babies, we did try breastfeeding, but after complications with the births my wife needed recovery time, and we found that it was best for us if I could help out with feeding, my babies also took to bottles much better. This also gave me a fantastic chance to create a bond with my babies through feeding.
You’re told to expect baby spit up after feeding this is entirely normal, but if you find that your little one is bringing up most of their feed after every bottle, then definitely get them checked out. Reflux was the cause for my son Elijah.
He would be sick for up to two hours after a feed, luckily it didn’t seem to bother him much, he did drop in weight once, but at most, it just meant lots of clothes changes for Elijah and us.
We tried a lot of different things for reflux, every single different formula you can buy combined with Gaviscon; this made no difference for us. In the end, the GP put Elijah on prescription formula and ranitidine; this helped out a lot. Still, the formula just wasn’t thick enough for him to keep down, so under advice from the GP, we also had to add a thickener to his milk to thicken slightly (speak to your GP first before trying this product).
A significant contributor to a change in his reflux was switching his bottles to the MAM baby easy start anti colic bottles. He took down far less wind. We have used these on both our babies now in the last two years, and they are the only one’s i’d recommend to parents.
Dad’s main tips on reflux:
- Burp in between feeding and after
- Keep baby upright for at least 30 minutes after feeding
- Use MAM Baby easy start anti colic bottles
- Change nappies before feeding to avoid lying baby flat straight after
- Prop up Moses basket slightly, so baby is not lying flat (always follow safe baby sleep guidelines to reduce risk of SIDS)
- Try using a different formula
If none of the above work or you have any concerns or questions, always seek medical advice from your GP.
If you only take this one thing away from this post, then you’re off to a good start in your parenting journey.
This is by far the most underrated tool in a parents arsenal when it comes to babies, I also never had a clue about it when I first started down this path to fatherhood, so I try to share it with everyone I can. WHITE NOISE.
You know the sound that an old TV used to make when it was left on that static, fuzzy screen? Well, babies find this noise very soothing.
It all comes down to the sounds they can hear in the womb; you want to try to recreate these sounds when they’re out in the big open world. It makes them feel safe and drowns out any background noise disturbing them.
You can download a variety of apps; there are videos on YouTube; some play a heartbeat along with the constant white noise. You can even use a fan; it will do the same thing.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to settle your little one but haven’t tried this yet, go for it. It has worked a treat on both my babies; I even struggle to sleep without it now.
Babies Love Routine
Get yourselves into a solid routine from day one. To begin with, most of the time, your baby will lead you down this path on their own. If you get this right your baby will always know what’s coming next, not only will it relieve your little one of some of the stresses they may have it will also do the same for you.
Dad’s main tips on routine:
- Keep feeds/meal times the same every day
- Keep nap times the same time everyday and in the same location of the house (preferably the same place they sleep at night)
- Settle them with a bedtime bath every night
- Sing the same song or say the same bedtime phrase every night, we always say ”it’s time for bed, say good night, I love you.”
If you can get a routine down from the get go your little one will just follow it without you having to do too much intervening, my son Elijah knows exactly when it’s time for bed now and even requests for us to take him.
You Can’t Stop Time
Finally, but I think probably the most important thing to remember, time doesn’t stop for nobody. I feel like my life over the past two years has been put on fast forward.
Your babies are going to hit milestone after milestone, and there is no stopping them, you just need to make sure you enjoy the ride.
Remember, nothing is more precious to them than your time, so when you can just breathe them in, take in all the little moments, cherish and hold onto them, because they grow up far too quickly and you don’t want to miss a thing.