Welcome to part three of The Daddy Diaries! This week, Daf is talking about the early days after SB was born – adjusting to night wakings, how he felt when breastfeeding didn’t work out, and the struggles we both faced to finish and submit our essays before she was even a month old!
How do you feel now when you look back on the newborn days?
There’s a definite sense of nostalgia. I think a lot of it is rose-tinted glasses, though – I remember the good stuff, and then sometimes, you look back and remember the tougher bits that you’ve tried to forget!
What do you hope to do differently next time?
In terms of caring for the baby, I don’t think there’s anything I would do differently, as the choices we made worked for us. I think we will prepare more, and do a bit more reading. Also, we’ll remember this time that you don’t have to hold the baby 24/7, and it can go into the Moses basket before it’s two weeks old!
How did you find it, adjusting to the baby’s routines?
It was fairly simple really. It’s quite tiring, but you realise that the baby can’t do anything for itself, and it relies on you for everything, so you just adjust to it. With me, it just took a lot of stubbornness, to train myself around SB’s routine.
Did you find yourself supporting Maddy as well as SB?
I did, but it’s totally understandable because of the hormones and the sudden change from being pregnant to not being pregnant anymore. I wish I’d done a bit more reading and research, and spotted that Maddy had postnatal depression earlier than I did.
How did you feel when breastfeeding didn’t work out?
I hadn’t researched it at all, so I didn’t really have any preference either way – as far as I was concerned, as long as SB got fed, that was all that mattered. I liked being able to do some feeds so that Maddy could catch up on sleep and recover after the birth.
What was the toughest thing to adjust to?
The lack of sleep. I don’t think I’ve had a full night of deep sleep since SB was born – you’re constantly listening out for the slightest noise from them.
What was the biggest challenge of trying to complete and submit your essays in the first few weeks of SB’s life?
Trying to focus! She was the perfect distraction – I couldn’t stop staring at her face, because she was so beautiful, so it was really tough trying to tear myself away from staring at her to get on with my work!
What advice do you have for dads-to-be about the newborn stage?
First of all, enjoy it, because it really does go too quickly. It is a real bonus if you can help with the feeds, either through your partner expressing, or through giving formula. Teamwork is a vital part of the newborn stage – you and your partner have to work together, otherwise you’ll both struggle. Research as much as possible, so you’ll know what’s normal and what isn’t – and also research postnatal depression, so you can be aware of the symptoms in case your partner develops it.
Next week, we’ll be discussing studying with SB on the scene, and how Daf coped with completing his second year of university, whilst supporting me in my dissertation and what happened whenever SB was poorly!