As I sit here potentially hours away from meeting the 3rd in line to my empire (a house with a big mortgage, an old Toyota Yaris and a years supply of running clothes) I thought it would be a good moment to share some advice to new dads. As a veteran dad and parenting expert (i.e. I have 2 children) I think I’m perfectly placed to share some words of wisdom.
I thought I’d start with the top 5 skills all new dads need to perfect, essential skills that will see you through those first chaotic months as a new parent and establish you as the alpha male in your NCT group. Knowledge is power people.
- How to sniff a nappy – Changing a small babies nappy is never an easy task, same goes for undoing the poppers on a baby grow so you really want to minimize the number of times you do it. The answer is to develop your sense of smell so that with one short sniff you can identify exactly what is in the nappy. As your skills develop you’ll also be able to tell the difference between gas and a true dirty nappy.
- Monitoring and describing poo – A direct link to the above, it’s amazing how quickly as a new parent 80% of your conversations revolve around bowel movements. You become obsessed with the colour, size, consistency and frequency and are perfectly happy to discuss those details with your partner while eating your dinner. Being able to accurately describe the contents of all your child’s nappies for a given period is an essential skill for any dad and also allows you to play true top trumps with your fellow new parents and see who was had the worst poo related incident.
- Terminology – We all know that knowing the lingo is an important skill in any situation, in the parenting world you can convince people of your parenting prowess by throwing in buzz words such as ‘attachment parenting’ and ‘self regulation’ casually to conversations. At a more basic level it’s also important to know that it is a muslin and not a Muslim as the lady of the manor often calls them. No one wants to shout across Mothercare ‘honey do we want a white or coloured Muslim do they?
- How to not hear baby cries at night – I think dads have evolved to have selective hearing at night, at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. But dads there is a very important skill here, you need to be awake enough to offer to go to the baby crying but not too awake that you offer before you partner is getting out of bed already. Don’t forget it’s important for us dads to get our beauty sleep, after all we are the hunter gatherers of the family, the ones who provide right?
- Efficient burping technique – Being able to extract that awkward trapped wind that has made your baby wriggle, moan and cry for the last hour is a true super hero skill. It requires more than brunt force, there needs to be technique and precision. A careful balance of gently bouncing around while aiming the pats are the precise spot of the back to have the maximum effect. Not too hard that it could hurt your baby but hard enough to encourage that burp up to their mouth. Advanced skills involve combining the bouncing/patting with some leg bends while they lie on their backs.
Did I miss any? What skills do you think every new dad needs to learn?