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How to prepare for fatherhood?

645 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  g_w
My wife and have recently discovered that she is pregnant. Barring any complications, this will be our first child. This was unexpected given reports from physicians and I am mostly ignorant when it comes to all things parenting. It is my preference not to suck at it. I suppose I'm beginning the knowledge accumulation phase. I'd like to sort what I need to learn in order to keep things efficient given the vast amount of conflicting info out there. I seek advice understanding that first-hand experience is probably a big part of it. Any guidance or anecdotes you can offer are appreciated. A few tidbits that may or may not be pertinent:

* We started a business about a year ago so income and losing growth momentum are concerns.
* My wife types as ENFP and seems to fit most characteristics on reputable profiles.
* Neither of us grew up with wealth or means. We have a negative bias toward individuals we deem to be spoiled or entitled.
* I'd like our children to have strong work ethic and not grow up with a sense of entitlement. I do not feel young adults should be reliant on their parents for financial support (assuming no circumstances beyond their control).
* I'd like them to be respectful toward others and decent human beings at their core.
* I'd like them to be independent thinkers and pursue whatever interests they choose.
* From my observations, it appears that many parents have difficulty striking the balance between too rigid in trying to instill values/responsibility (ignoring them as individuals) and too passive in allowing them to freedom to pursue their own paths (unintentionally spoiling them).

Where to begin?
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0) Congratulations!

1) Stock up on sleep

2) See #1

3) Decide with your wife if she will attempt breast feeding.

If so in addition to #1, lay in a stock of calorie dense, tasty food, preferably in a deep freeze so it will keep. I have seen a woman who was breastfeeding, eat an entire sour cream raisin pie in four hours and continue to lose weight.

4) Talk to relatives / friends / support network about gently used baby furniture, decor, strollers, car seats, etc. -- these things have a large markup and are generally not kept forever.

4a) Also consult with these people about willingness (of parents / siblings as fits your circumstances) to watch the baby for a couple of hours. Infants are *never* "off" -- even when asleep, this can change suddenly.

4b) Come to agreement with Mom, how much, umm, finger-wagging instruction the two of you will put up with from any well-meaning (or even just overbearing) relatives (e.g. how dare you take the baby out wearing so many / so few clothes for this weather!)

5) Read up on baby-proofing the house (chemicals out of reach, stoppers in electrical outlets, bannisters blocking stairs, etc.

6) Try to come to agreement about parenting philosophy (whether to allow the baby to sleep with both of you in bed as they get a bit older, or let them cry themselves out in a crib); whether you take turns getting up in the middle of the night; all that kind of thing

7) Pick a name, and have one or two in reserve. Sometimes the blessed event happens, and you say, "Wait, (s)he just doesn't LOOK like a (Wilma) Fred." You'd be surprised...

Congratulations again!
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to: Green Girl
(Thunderous applause)
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