One of the scariest things about bringing your baby home is the responsibility of keeping him or her safe and healthy. They make strange noises you don’t understand and appear so fragile and helpless. It can be frightening to face up to this massive responsibility for such a tiny life. This fear can keep many dads from helping with baby care responsibilities. There is no need to stand back and watch mom, she is just as scared as you are. So, get in there and help her out.
Learn all you can
Don’t’ waste those 9 months you spend waiting for your baby to arrive. It is easy to get caught up in painting the nursery, shopping for clothes, and fetching ice cream for the mother to be. There’s a high chance there are some parenting books and magazines lying around your home at this point. Yes, all those books your wife went out and bought the minute she got a positive pregnancy test are a good thing. Read about what you are about to experience and what she is about to experience. There are many tried and tested rules for safety and health for a new baby. If you can get your hands on some well researched material, you will have some good literature to refer to. When you meet your pediatrician ask them to recommend a good book with accurate and safe information, as well.
By the time your baby arrives, you have most likely been exposed to a plethora of scary stories. However whilst childhood illnesses are frightening by having a basic understanding of what signals and symptoms indicate what you will be prepared to take the appropriate action as soon as you see the signs of something wrong. While you will still have to get your little one to the doctor for a definitive diagnosis or treatment, a good reference guide can really help relieve some panic. When you first see your child covered in strange red spots, you will be a little better prepared.
Stock up on First Aid Arsenal
This is not the time to drag out your 30 year old mercury thermometer that has been tucked away in the cabinet for an undisclosed amount of time. There are some excellent new products out there, use them. You will truly understand why the 30 second thermometer costs more money the first time you have to take a temperature reading on a hot, squirmy baby at 2 AM. You should have a well-organized, easy to find box with everything you will need for an illness or injury. The name and number of the pediatrician should be written on this box somewhere or stored inside it on a card. Do no rely on memory or your cell phone data in an emergency. You will still feel scared the first time your baby gets sick, but preparation cuts down on a lot of confusion and mistakes.
Take a Class
There are many people who think they will never need CPR, so they just dismiss the idea. This is a very short class that could save your baby’s life. Techniques to be used on babies and children are a bit different than for adults, so it pays to take a paediatric first aid course if you possibly can, even if you were certified before. Many hospitals offer new parent and sibling classes. Find and take advantage of all of your resources.
Dads can be well prepared to care for routine and emergency health concerns with a little effort. There are things around the house that you may never have thought of as a threat until you have a baby crawling around. Be ready to have your house turn into a labyrinth of child locks and baby gates. Get your first aid kit ready, and don’t be afraid to get involved in caring for your new addition.
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