Skip to main content

The Five Best Hacks For New Dads

 A Newbie Father’s Guide

As a father, I think I have learned much, grown in maturity (now having the grey hairs to prove it!) and changed my world-view to encompass my role as a dad. Before I digress and potentially forget all the important life-lessons and various child-rearing wisdom learned along the way, I realized that I should probably write down what I have gleaned from this whirl-wind tour called ‘fatherhood.’ 

Hopefully, what I share might bail some poor unsuspecting sap from the 'dog-box,' or actually prevent them from ever having to step foot inside said dog-box. 

Welcome to the club

For those of you who have just become dads, welcome to the club. Most new fathers will notice fairly soon how ‘new’ everything is! Suddenly you have a new baby, a new wife/partner, and a new life. 

To the bewildered father, whose misconceptions about the whole experience are now all too apparent, everything is a learning curve. 

Before the birth, most men believe that they are the focus of their partner’s attention. The new father might also believe that parenthood is fairly straightforward — a fundamental natural event that has occurred without too much encouragement since the conception of the human race! 

For first-time dads, all this is new. Probably the most disconcerting and misunderstood event for the father, in this whole life-changing process, is breast-feeding. The mother, of course, as part of her new role takes breast-feeding in her stride (most of the time) and accepts it for what it is. Basically, feeding the baby. 

The father, however, may feel like he is in the middle of a small-scale corporate takeover! An underdeveloped CEO, intent on transferring assets to the Primary Production sector, has now annexed a previously secure share dividend in the ‘entertainment industry.’

Dairy giant Fonterra, will soon be knocking on the door looking for investment opportunities in this thriving milk-factory (that’s what my wife calls it!). Apologies for the analogies, but you get the drift, right?

Meanwhile, back to reality. We knew deep down this would happen and it’s not so much the feelings of exclusion or the ‘what about me’ factor, it’s the growing feeling of helplessness that inevitably pervades the new father’s thoughts. 

Once all selfish feelings have been swept aside and we can actually see that what our partner does is for the good of our child, then most fathers will start to ask how they can help. 

Of all the duties associated with parenthood, apart from the actual act of giving birth, breastfeeding is obviously the exclusive domain of the mother. Bottle-feeding will come later, but in the meantime the father will just have to accept that it’s one thing he can’t do.

Don't despair, there are many other things new dad’s can do instead, half of which will be expected (warning: without actually being directly communicated) and the other half which might help to eventually retain a few of those highly prized share dividends in the ‘entertainment industry!’

One of the things I wasn’t prepared for, as a new dad, was how long it actually takes to breastfeed a little baby. My wife and I added up the time spent over a 24-hour period and it averaged between 10–12 hours, with a typical breastfeed taking between 40–60 minutes given at 4 hour intervals or when needed. 

Obviously these kinds of statistics will differ with every mother/baby combination, but one thing that is certain is that it is definitely time consuming.

With all these aspects in mind, here are my top five hacks/tips for those new fathers looking for alternative ‘breastfeeding’ duties:

1. Bring your partner a nice drink (non-alcoholic or caffeinated) while she is breastfeeding. Something nutritious and tasty will actually give her a boost as well as provide necessary fluid. Try a fruit smoothie or iced water etc. 

2. Try not to fuss over them both while she is breastfeeding. Use the time to make the bed or fold some washing. If you are awake at night while she is up breastfeeding, bringing a drink in to her is apparently quite ‘nice.’ Most important: do not interfere unless asked. 

3. Breastfeeding usually happens bang on dinner time so if you can’t cook, pick up a recipe book and learn how. Simple dishes are not hard to make and are usually well received by exhausted mothers. Save the gourmet meal for the weekend when you have a bit more time to prepare. 
  • Tip #1: have lots of fresh fruit on hand as a banana will stave off hunger (for you and her) while you are cooking the vegetables to go with the main course. 
  • Tip #2: Cook a large meal and divide it up into smaller meal sizes and freeze them. Good comfort food like Lasagne, Stews, Casseroles etc are great for this purpose. Saves you heaps of time later if you need a quick meal — just defrost and heat. 
4. Ask what you can do to help as a last resort. Look first, there’s always washing (remember to avoid that cardinal sin of mixing whites with colors), ironing, CLEANING, and cooking to be done at any hour of the day.
5. Whenever possible, encourage and provide the opportunity for your partner (subtly) to take naps, as this will benefit you both in the long run. Tiredness is perhaps the biggest cause of stress with a new-born for all concerned, especially so for the mother, who will spend long and irregular hours nurturing your child.

Enjoy the ride and do your part

While your partner is breastfeeding, accept that you will need to take over some duties you might not have done all the time previously, e.g. I did ALL the cooking. Step up and make it ‘your thing’. Once you’ve done these chores a few times, you'll realize that it gives you something to do, as much as it also serves to help out around the house while your other-half is filling up bubs.

Probably the most important thing of all is to provide a low-stress and understanding environment for your partner.  

Forget about what you ‘need’ for the first few months — it is all about the baby. Your partner will be doing her part with breastfeeding for up to 12 hours over a 24-hour period along with other domestic chores. Even if you are the main ‘bread-winner,’ make sure you are prepared to help out when you get home from work. 

Be patient, your partner and baby will love you for it (hopefully) and if not at least you will feel as though you've done your share.
Remember, the happier your partner is, the happier they will be with you. Everybody knows that shares gain interest the longer they are left alone, but don’t forget, the more you invest — the bigger the return.

Happy parenting.



life hacks, fatherhood, tips for new dads, breastfeeding, humorous article, #dadhacks

Popular posts from this blog

How to Combine Multiple PDFs With Adobe Bridge CS5 and Acrobat

If you are using Adobe Photoshop CS5 you have probably discovered that you cannot merge multiple (PDF/image) files without a great deal of effort and manual dexterity.   If you have the Adobe suite there is a much simpler and effective way of doing it, as outlined below. Adobe Suite (CS5) includes Adobe Bridge - follow the instructions below to seamlessly merge multiple PDFs into a single PDF file presentation. Can be used for images as well.  Merging Multiple PDFs With Adobe Bridge CS5 1 - Assemble PDF files (or JPEGs etc) into an easily accessible folder (Desktop etc). Make sure to name the files alpha-numerically so that they automatically sort when you open them in Adobe Bridge (e.g. file_1, file_2, file_3, file_4…). 2 - Open Photoshop/Adobe Bridge CS5 3 - Use the drop-down ‘Folders’ tab to select the file folder with the PDFs/JPEGs you wish to merge into a single PDF (see image below).   4 - Select all the images/PDFs you want from the lower

Immanuel Kant was a Bloody Artistic Genius!

This article was written in 1999 and was part of a paper I was completing in Art Theory under the tutelage of Dr Denis Dutton. Having the good fortune to be a student of Dr Dutton's was a highlight of my academic studies and I am very proud to boast of an 'A' mark for this particular essay. I have updated it slightly and it will be part of a larger collection of academic articles I plan on publishing, concentrating on art, literature and philosophical theory. Denis Laurence Dutton (9 February 1944 – 28 December 2010) was a philosopher of art, web entrepreneur and media activist. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch , New Zealand . He was also a co-founder and co-editor of the websites Arts & Letters Daily , and Immanuel Kant KANT’S NOTION OF GENIUS IN ART In an integral section of The Critique of Judgement [1] that deals with notions of art, Kant attempts to expl

Jacques Lacan's Mind F*#k 'Mirror Stage'

Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan (April 13, 1901 - September 9, 1981) was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, who made prominent contributions to the psychoanalytic movement. His yearly seminars, conducted in Paris from 1953 until his death in 1981, were a major influence in the French intellectual milieu of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly among post-structuralist thinkers [1].           Lacan's ideas centred on Freudian concepts: e.g. the unconscious, the castration complex, the ego. He also focussed on identifications and the centrality of language to subjectivity. His work was interdisciplinary, drawing on linguistics, philosophy, and mathematics, amongst others. Although a controversial and divisive figure, Lacan is widely read in critical theory, literary studies, and twentieth-century French philosophy, as well as in the living practice of clinical psychoanalysis. Lacan's first official contribution to psychoanalysis was his theory of the 'Mirror Stage.'        

New Zealand Industry-Based Careers and Training

Here are a selection of some articles I wrote between 2019 -2021 when I worked as a Content Writer/Developer for the New Zealand Government careers website   (click on the article titles below to go to the online version). Articles about careers and training in the New Zealand Building and Construction sector: Great pay for jobs in the Construction Industry  Why you should consider a career in Building Science Turn heads with a Tiling career   Skills you need for Building and Construction apprenticeships   Building a new career   Articles about careers and training in the Food, Fibre and Forestry sectors: An exciting future is yours in the Food and Fibre sectors Improving Forestry through innovation     Another article I wrote about a company who won a Skills Highway award: Bespoke training leads to personal growth at HEB Construction Miscellaneous articles I wrote about career-related things:  Staying positive through redundancy How to have a successful remote job

Stanley Fish and Political Correctness

In his book,  Professional Correctness: Literary Studies and Political Change [1],   Stanley Fish argues against the epistemological and political agendas of cultural studies, as being without justification and understanding in their treatment of the discipline of literary studies and ‘interdisciplinarity’. The strength of his critique is apparent in his internal knowledge and defence of the discipline of literary studies, as being essentially different and distinct as a discipline, from that of cultural studies. While there is great strength to his critique, there are also weaknesses. One of those weaknesses, I will argue, is his refusal to acknowledge the growing influence of external forces outside and inside the discipline of literary criticism. Fish argues in favour of a return to the practice of literary criticism in and for itself, free from the political concerns associated with cultural studies. The political or cultural studies approach, in his opinion, is founded upon the mi