This post from Jay Wacker originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question “What are the top ten things every new dad should know before his first child is born? “
1. Everything will be alright. Be aware and calm. Babies are tough little cookies. You need to set your anxiety levels appropriately.
2. Getting your baby to eat is hard and requires more than just the mom. Figure out how to help with feedings. Babies really do need to be fed every 2 hours. My wife did a combination of pumping and breastfeeding. I took the 10pm to 4am graveyard shift and gave her roughly from 9pm to 6am off.
3. Learn how to change diapers. It’s really no big deal. Start on day one, don’t let anyone with experience make you feel bad about not knowing how to do it. It’s actually really easy at the beginning, but it gets progressively more challenging to change diapers as the baby starts to grow, so you need to the practice when they’re young.
4. Learn to swaddle. It’s hard to learn, but it’s important, your baby will be so much happier. I recommend doing the double swaddle. You’ll amaze your friends — it’s sort of like baby origami.
5. Be ready to some marginally gross stuff — such as clearing clogged ducts
6. You have to figure out how to make plans to get out. If you’re trapped at home, you’re going to go nuts. This usually means bringing the baby.
7. Get a pattern down for going out. You need to have a mental checklist. The mother will be too fatigued to figure out. You need the diaper bag, bottle, diapers, wipes, hat, coat, sunscreen, whatever. Go through the checklist before you go out, it will only take 30 seconds, but will make getting out so much easier.
8. Know how to install a car seat. It’s confusing and physically hard. Get good at it. It’ll free you for traveling.
9. It’s harder than anything you’ve ever done.
10. It’s easier than what everyone says.