With their precious cargo now safely home Rodney found himself with a lot on his plate. Luckily he is a fast learner when it comes to newborn care and in no time at all he was changing nappies like a pro.
A man about the house
Rodney had the enviable luxury of being able to take a month off work after his baby was born and was able to carry out all the work around the house while his wife was recuperating.
“Because my wife had a caesarean she was under strict doctor’s orders to take it easy for at least six weeks so I had to be really diligent around the house and make sure she had everything she needed.”
“I took the month off work because it was our first baby and I just didn’t know what to expect and I’m really glad that I did.
“That time was invaluable in allowing me to do the shopping and washing and any other heavy chores around the house because after the caesarean my wife was really sore in the stomach area and wasn’t able to move much for the first couple of weeks.
“I would also help out by lifting bubs in and out of the bassinette for feeds so my wife could just keep recovering. We were quite lucky in that our baby breastfed really well so there were no extra stresses in that department.
“It is definitely a lot of work but you find it’s a labour of love and it is really important not to rush your wife’s recovery if she has had a caesarean.
“I could never have done any of this if I wasn’t able to take time off work and I would recommend any new dad to take as much time off work as they can when their baby is born.”
As well as being a super husband around the house and letting his wife recover Rodney was also busy learning the ins and out of looking after a newborn baby.
“Everything is a learning curve,” he said.
“How to hold her, burp her, change her and keep her neck supported were some of the first things I had to get my head around.”
“I had some idea of how to change a nappy, I mean how hard could it possibly be?
“I didn’t realise there were so many specific techniques like which way to wipe the poo and how to bundle up the nappy when you’re done so I made a few mistakes there while I was learning.
On top of that Rodney said he had to learn to understand the baby’s cries.
“I found that you can tell pretty early on whether the cry is because they really need your help or it just a cry for attention,” he said.
“It’s always best to check on bubs to see if they need a nappy change or a burp. If that’s all ok sometimes they just want a cuddle and some attention.”
Rodney said there’s a lot to learn but it comes very quickly and very naturally so there’s no need for expecting dads to worry too much.
“When it’s your baby and you need to look after them and keep them happy I found you just have to do what feels right and you can’t really go too wrong,” he said.
Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it’s off to work we go
After spending so much time at home with his wife and new baby you might expect a few anxieties when it came time to finally head back into the office but there were no such worries for Rodney and his wife as they had a few trial runs throughout his time off.
“On a number of occasions during my time off I was called into work to fix different problems that they couldn’t do without me,” he said.
“I would just go in for an hour or two and then head back home again which gave us some experience being apart and looking after bubs alone so neither of us was particularly stressed once my time off came to an end.
According to Rodney the hardest part about going back to work was only having one car between them.
“It was difficult because whenever my wife needed the car for the day she would have to drop me off at work,” he said.
“Which doesn’t sound too bad in itself but nothing is particularly easy or quick with a newborn.
“It may mean waking the baby up and interrupting their sleep and you have to make sure you have the nappy bag stocked with everything you might need because you never know if the baby will need a change of clothes or a feed.
“But overall going back to work was actually pretty good because after such a life changing event you become a new man, there is a changing of the guard and I was ready to start the next phase of my life.”
The fruits of your labour
By the time Rodney’s daughter was about six months she was eating properly and gaining good weight and really starting to absorb the world around her.
“We were lucky that she never had any serious illness in those early months,” said Rodney.
“She was a very healthy baby and it wasn’t until a bit further down the road when we had to start making trips to Princess Margret Hospital for dislocated elbows and bumps on the head –you know, the usual kiddie injuries.
“They grow so fast and there are a lot of challenging times to get through, especially in the very early days but when you look back on those days you only remember the good stuff and how cute they are, the harder stuff you tend to forget.”
Click here to read Rodney’s experiences during the 1st trimester.
Click here to read Rodney’s experiences during the 3rd trimester.
|Read about other dads’ experiences during the first few weeks after their baby’s birth.|