Gaz and his partner were absolutely delighted to be able to hold their baby son in their arms for the first time. All the overwhelming aspects of the birth fell instantly by the way side and Gaz was about to find out what being a dad really meant.
Hospital? More like a hotel
After the caesarean, Gaz’s partner had to stay in the hospital while they monitored her. But Gaz took this time to learn as much as he could from the nursing staff and get some good practice in before they went home to face parenthood on their own.
“I can’t praise the hospital staff enough over this time. We had so many experts from different fields come in and give us information on everything we needed to know,” he said.
“Those five days after the birth were invaluable and I really think my partner was able to establish good feeding and sleeping routines before we even got home.
“Aside from the routines we also had help with his first bath, changing nappies and all the day to day stuff that comes with looking after a baby.
“I can’t overstate enough just how beneficial this was for both me and my partner.
“As good as it was, by the time we were allowed to head home I was well and truly ready to start up our new life together in our family home.
Home sweet home
There is a pretty common stereotype of the slightly neurotic and wildly overprotective dad but Gaz said he couldn’t have been more removed from that type of behaviour.
“I wasn’t really nervous or scared taking the baby home, I was more relieved that we had made it through the whole pregnancy and delivery and now we could get on with our lives,” he said.
“My little dude was just so cute and fresh I couldn’t wait to see what he had in store for us.
“The first few nights were somewhat of an eye opener for me because I think I grossly underestimated the effects the lack of sleep would have.
“But I was luckier than most I suspect as I was on the cusp of finishing Uni for the semester so my partner and I were able to catch up during the day if we needed.
Fatherhood in practice
“My baby very rarely cried throughout the first six months,” he said.
“If he did cry I had a quick and easy checklist to work through to find out why. Did he need a new nappy, food, sleep or did he have wind?
“90% of the time it would be one of those factors that were causing him to cry.
“The hardest part by far was waking up through the night for feeds but he was only about six or seven weeks old when he started to sleep from midnight right through until 6am.
“In fact sometimes he would sleep longer and we would have to wake him up for feeds as we wanted to make sure he was putting on enough weight.
“For me personally I think being organised with a system that suits you is the key to being able to provide the best care for your baby. I set up a change station with everything you needed to change nappies which made it a quick and painless process and I had similar systems for bath time and play time – not that playtime would be painful.
“If I had to give some advice to other fathers-to-be out there I would say that happy parents make happy babies.
“There is no getting around the fact that a newborn is a lot of work and can be very stressful at times but I think it is really important to make time for yourself and your partner.
“Some alone time away from bubs or a date night for the two of you can work wonders. I found just a couple hours ‘off’ is enough to really recharge you and get back into the swing of newborn routines.
The good life
According to Gaz being a father just keeps getting better and better, and the rewards come in spades.
“My partner and I obviously didn’t plan to have a baby so soon but now that it has happened there is no way I would have it any other way,” he said.
“Watching your baby grow and learn is an indescribable experience and one that you can only really have with your own child.
“Once your baby is able to engage and communicate a lot better than a newborn it’s just amazing.
“It wasn’t until about the 6 month period that I started to talk with others fathers about parenting and babies and new lifestyles.
“I found it really helpful to hear other dad’s stories and experiences as I could now relate to them having lived through my first six months as a dad and I could contribute my stories to the mix.
“I genuinely look forward to watching my son continue to grow and learn and to sharing that experience with my friends and family.
“Babies bring so much love and joy to everyone in their life and I just feel really blessed to be a part of it.”
Click here to read Gaz’s experiences during the 1st trimester.
Click here to read Gaz’s experiences during the 2nd trimester.
Click here to read Gaz’s experiences during the 3rd trimester.
|Read about other dads’ experiences during the first few weeks after their baby’s birth.|