35 Health Tips For First Time Dads

Four years ago the National Fatherhood Initiative surveyed more than 700 U.S. dads about their perspectives on fathering.

A scant 54 percent of the dads said they had felt adequately prepared for the role.

This one’s for you first time dads feeling less confident: 35 health tips for the first year of fatherhood. Brother, can you spare some butt paste?

Debrief the delivery. “We think we’re doing a good job in the labor-and-delivery room of explaining things, but we deliver hundreds of babies,” says Kaiser Permanente Colorado OB/Gyn Kim Warner, MD. “Our explanations may not sink in the first time.” Follow up on any and all lingering questions about the birth process.

Carry car seats close to your body. When lugging junior around in his baby seat, hold the seat as close to your torso as possible. This will engage your back muscles in addition to your arms, and you won’t tire as quickly.

Limit your child’s exposure to the sun. REALLY limit exposure until the infant is at least 6 months old. After 6 months, limit direct exposure to 20 minutes-and not without a hat, pants, long-sleeved shirt and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher). Sunburn is not the only concern. Dehydration and heat exhaustion also are possible.

Don’t overthink Rover’s affection. “I’ve never really heard of a child getting sick from a dog licking them on the face,” says Kaiser Permanente Colorado pediatrician, Scott Zimbelman, MD. “It won’t cause any harm if it happens once in a while.” Also: that whole thing about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as a result of cats sleeping with babies? Old wives tale.

Fan the baby’s room. A 2008 Kaiser Permanente research study found infants sleeping in bedrooms with fans ventilating the air had a 72 percent lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome compared to infants sleeping in bedrooms without fans.

Go to the six-week OB/Gyn appointment. “There’s so much going on at that point, and it’s good validation that you’re doing a good job,” Dr. Warner says. “The can-we-have-sex-yet conversation is particularly valuable. Having both partners there makes for a better discussion.”

Beat barrier No. 1 to losing the sympathy weight: Ignoring the calorie count.

Hold the baby. The research on parent-baby bonding historically has focused on the mother-baby bond. The attachment between father and baby also takes nurturing. Be present. Change diapers. Talk to your child. “It’s good for the child, and it builds your confidence and competence as a parent,” says Joe Barfoot, licensed clinical social worker with Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “The only thing dads can’t do is breastfeed.”

Know the signs of post-partum depression. Mood swings, tears, feeling overwhelmed-expect she’ll experience all of it after welcoming your newborn into the world. This is the so-called (and common) baby blues. If the emotional bouts last beyond two weeks, and those feelings turn toward deep sadness, and trouble bonding with the baby, it could be post-partum depression.

Resist putting dropped pacifiers and utensils in your mouth. Doing so can increase your baby’s risk of infections and cavities. Clean dropped pacifiers and utensils with soap and water.

Lift with your legs. When moving the wife’s 200-pound heirloom dresser, you know to keep your back straight and bend your knees (rather than your back) to lift. Same rule applies when lifting and putting down your child. “Repetitive bending can lead to injury, muscle strain, or a disk herniation,” says Gregory Mills, PT, Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s clinical service director for rehabilitation services.

Get your child vaccinated. Studies from Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Research have found clear links between illnesses (including whooping cough and chicken pox) and children whose parents refuse vaccinations. “Every one of these immunizations that we want to give your child I had no qualms about giving my kids,” Dr. Zimbelman says.

Use birth control for at least nine months. If you and your partner want more children, don’t rush right back into pregnancy. Her body isn’t ready. She needs time to rebuild vitamin and mineral stores, and resume a normal menstrual cycle. If she’s breastfeeding, it’s best that she continue as long as works for her and the baby. Her uterus also needs time to regain strength.

Beat barrier No. 2 to losing the sympathy weight: Taking seconds (and thirds).

Note: your child may have reactions from vaccinations. The four main side effects your child may experience: low-grade temperature (100 to 101 degrees), pain at the site of injection, tender red skin around the vaccination spot, and general fussiness.

Step into the car when installing car seats. Placing a baby seat in the car can be surprisingly awkward. You duck, twist, lift and lunge-all in one motion. That takes a toll on your back, neck and shoulders. Minimize strain by stepping one leg into the car and positioning the seat using a forward motion-rather than twisting from the side.

Ask stay-at-home moms, ‘How was your day?’ You’re back at work. If she’s not, that probably means her 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. arrangement has fundamentally changed. Yours hasn’t. Showing interest in how it’s going, at the very least, acknowledges the shift.

Avoid sling-style baby carriers. Look for carriers with dual strap systems instead of those that rest on one shoulder. Distributing the baby’s weight to both sides of your body will decrease the chance of a neck injury.

Keep a house calendar. “If you’re disorganized, you’ll be more frustrated, more stressed out,” Barfoot says. “When you’re more frustrated and stressed, it’s more likely to show up in your relationships. The more organized you are, the lower your stress level.”

Babyproof your living space a.s.a.p. This includes covering outlets, gating stairs, moving cleaning chemicals to higher shelves-addressing all possible hazards within reach (and mouth) of a curious toddler. Why a.s.a.p.? Between sleep deprivation and adjusting to new routines, the seven(ish) months between birth and crawling pass quickly.

Beat barrier No. 3 to losing the sympathy weight: Restaurant food.

Go easy on antibacterial soaps. These soaps are much harsher than their non-antibacterial brethren, and they tend to pull moisture from the skin. Baby soaps are much milder. And, the evidence suggests friction is what removes most bacteria when washing hands.

Enjoy the low dirt factor. Sponge bathe newborns until their umbilical cords fall off. After that, infants need only two or three baths per week. Enjoy the low frequency while it lasts. Because it won’t last.

Say, ‘I’m here. I want to be involved.’ “A lot of new dads feel like the mom knows everything, and they don’t have a place, so they back off,” Dr. Warner says. “What that feels like to the woman is the dad doesn’t want to be involved.” Note: your involvement may include doing laundry, washing dishes, or taking the 2 a.m. diaper shift.

Don’t make your own list. Related to Tip 24, when offering help, prioritize what she says she needs, not what you think she needs.

Make time for yourself. Same goes for your partner. (Not yet for the baby.)

Strengthen your core. Whether by way of pilates, yoga, or plain-old sit-ups and pushups, there’s no better preparation for carrying your child than improving your core stability.

Beat barrier No. 4 to losing the sympathy weight: Going easy on exercise.

Help moderate her drive to exercise. It’s good for your partner to start walking as soon as possible after giving birth, but play it smart. “If it hurts, don’t do it,” Dr. Warner says. “If it causes bleeding, don’t do it.” Usually it’s six weeks before she can resume full exercise. Gradually increase the walking distance, and no swimming for at least that first six weeks.

Reprioritize date night. Carve out at least one night per month to nurture the relationship with your partner. Start making time for each other while still staying at home. Look toward date night out once you have identified a babysitter you are both comfortable with.

Read up on the baby’s first year. Note the broad definitions of “normal” child development. “You’re preventing parenting anxiety by knowing some things to expect,” Barfoot says.

Communicate with the grandparents. If you’re thinking where are they? They may be thinking Where’s my invitation? If you’re thinking Can we get some space? They may be thinking I’m getting older… I need to spend time with my grandchild? “It’s all about communication,” Barfoot says.

Accept that babies sometimes cry for no reason. New babies may cry as many as 3 hours per day. Sometimes they’re too hot. Sometimes too cold. Maybe hungry or lying in a messy diaper. And sometimes it’s just unexplainable. Good news is it’s not because you’re doing a bad job.

Target seven hours of sleep per day. The rule of thumb is adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a day. You’ll probably come up short in the first few months of your child’s life. But long term, getting too little sleep will decrease your alertness, increase your risks of auto accidents and lead you to eat poorly. Consider this as justification for midday naps. This goes for mom, too.

Beat barrier No. 5 to losing the sympathy weight: No support system.

How Much Sex is Too Much Sex?

This question came up many years ago during a conversation about marital sex. A couple in relationship stress were with friends, when the man suddenly said “I like sex more than my wife”. All eyes stayed with him a few moments, and then, as if choreographed, all together turned to the wife. She meekly said “I can’t satisfy my husband, because he likes too much sex”. Again, as if rehearsed, all eyes looked to the floor for another few moments, before, one by one, gently, carefully, coming back up. No-one could look at either of them. No-one wanted to be accused of taking sides.

Who has been schooled enough in the area of handling marital relationships? Those with professional counselling skills know that this is the make or break point in most relationships, and needs to be handled with absolute caution. Many relationships are sick and on the verge of collapse because the protagonists in the marriage cannot speak about the real issues. Instead, counsellors are lumbered with hours of accusations that almost bother on witch-hunts, such as “he didn’t take out the bin three times in a row”; “she burnt my favourite food”. The list is endless. The real issue started hours ago, in the bedroom. Many people were brought up in a way that does not encourage talking about these issues. They get married because they claim to love each other, and proclaim their love for one another before many witnesses.

On the other hand, some people feel that they should live together first before determining if they are “right” for one another. Common Law arrangements have all the stress and problems of real marriages, without all the benefits. I always ask myself why anyone would want to go for a “Test Marriage”, especially the women. People have been conned, for too long, that marriage has no benefits, until you try it out first. So, what if you try it out, and you don’t like it? Does that erase the years you spent together as ordinary “partners”? That’s another word I like very much “partnerships” because of the business profitability angle. Do “test marriages work like “business partnerships”? A sort of “You bring, I bring: We share the profits”, kind of arrangement? If so, where is the “test” in that? After all the bible says there is “that, which every joint supplies” referring to the anatomy of the human being. Take the right arm for instance. Joined at the shoulder with the rest of the body, and at the elbow to the forearm, it is joined at the wrist to the hand, which normally has five fingers.

A business partnership assumes that each partner is good at “something”, and supplies “some degree of value” to the relationship, like our right arm. Now, imagine if the elbow says to the upper arm, “I really like you very much, but let’s just stay together for now and see if our relationship will work”. If it doesn’t work five years later, I will drop off, and you can go your own way.” Now, that would be something, wouldn’t it? Otherwise, imagine going into a brand new car showroom, and asking for a “test drive”. Five years later, three children and many photographs down the road, you abandon the car on the road, and tell the dealer, “sorry, here are your keys. We are just not compatible. That car has given me too much problems”; “he is always attracting too many women”; “she doesn’t like my mother”. Ah! Get with the program, please. Make up your mind. If a woman is good enough to have your children, she is good enough to marry.

OK, that was a diversion. How much sex is too much sex? Our couple were waiting for a response from all the wise men and women in the room. Suddenly, in about the same time it took you to read the above, the most elderly of the men in the room asked the question. “How much sex is too much sex”? Directed at no-one in particular, I guess the question hit everyone like a bombshell, because I saw every eye go back to the floor, and for a good while, no-one attempted to look up. Suddenly, the woman ventured a weak reply. “Well”, she said slowly, and brought all eyes back up. “I guess there is really nothing like “too much sex” if you are allowed to enjoy the process.” Again, all eyes went to the ground. There must be something on that carpet that attracts so much attention!

Many women are forgiving in other areas of a relationship, but when hurt during sexual encounters, they go for broke. Majority won’t say what is really biting them, because there is still that compelling need to protect the man’s ego. A wise man in a relationship needs to work more on the area of marital sex. This is not about using Viagra for dexterity. There is a certain gentility and finesse that conjures a loving attitude, which, if learned by both sexes, has the capacity to reduce the tensions in relationships. Sex education has been prominently omitted from the learning experiences of people, creating the majority of stress related and mental health symptoms we have in the world today. Every relationship is unique, because the people involved are unique. If you are sexually related to someone and are hoping for a lasting relationship, then you need to find out, how much sex is too much sex?

Aid for Education

Education is the most powerful antidote against poverty in Africa, as quoted by Irina Bokova, Director General of Organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). However, UNESCO warns that the lack of aid to Africa and aid for education could derail efforts to make 32 million school children to get in to the schools. Various NGOs and some volunteers have taken up this task of education for poor in Africa. It is estimated that till 2015, there will be 23 million school children in the region, still, more than one in three adults in the continent are illiterate. Africa also has some of the inequalities in the world in education, due to factors such as sex, language or residence.

Under the new education reform program 1987, the Junior Secondary Schools are aimed to impart a broad-based education in Africa, to the students, including pre-disposition to technical and vocation subjects and basic life skills which will enable them to discover their aptitudes and potentialities so and induce desire for self-improvement, and appreciate the use of both brain and hand to make them creative and self-employable. It is also ensured that all Junior Secondary Schools are day schools with mixed sexes.

Education is the most powerful antidote against poverty in Africa, as quoted by Irina Bokova, Director General of Organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). However, UNESCO warns that the lack of aid to Africa and aid for education could derail efforts to make 32 million school children to get in to the schools. Various NGOs and some volunteers have taken up this task of education for poor in Africa. It is estimated that till 2015, there will be 23 million school children in the region, still, more than one in three adults in the continent are illiterate. Africa also has some of the inequalities in the world in education, due to factors such as sex, language or residence.