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5 Things New Fathers Should Know {But No One Ever Told Them}

You’ve read the baby books. You’ve read the parenting books. You’re prepared for everything as a new dad, right? Um, probably not EVERYTHING. On behalf of veteran fathers everywhere, here are 5 things new fathers should know (but no one ever told them).

It’s truly one of the most anticipated, exciting, scary, and defining moments in the life of new fathers – bringing home your newborn baby.

Up until the birthday, your wife has done the heavy lifting (literally) of raising your child.  But now, it’s time to share the joy of nurturing and caring for your son or daughter.

You’ve read the baby books.  You’ve read the parenting books.  You’re prepared for everything, right? Um, probably not EVERYTHING.

On behalf of veteran fathers everywhere, here are 5 things new fathers should know (but no one ever told them):

1.  Poop Defies Gravity – I don’t know how many times a diaper change has turned into bath time because poop has somehow blown out the back of her diaper, traveled UP the back of her onesie, and nearly reached the back of her head! It defies physics. It defies logic. But it happens. Often.

2.  Spit-Up Will Happen When You Least Expect It – I’ll never forget watching my daughter smile at me for the first time. I was on the floor raising and lowering her to my face, triggering a smile as our noses touched each time. Trying to repeat the feat the next day, I got on the floor and extended her in my arms above my head. As I was lowering her to touch noses, a volcanic eruption of spit-up landed on my face.  Without warning.  As a bonus heads-up, there are three things you should know about spit-up:

  1. It burns the eyes
  2. It tastes awful
  3. You will never forget 1 & 2

3.  Strangers Will Randomly Pick Up, Touch, Or Kiss Your Baby – When at a the local box store giving my wife a much needed break, a lady (whom I did not know) approached and saw our daughter sleeping soundly. She then proceeded to re-tuck the blankets, talk to my daughter in a loud “baby” voice (remember my girl is sleeping), give her a kiss on the forehead, AND – wait for it – wake her up. It was a good thing I was in shock or else they may have needed to call security.

4. Never Change a Diaper Without A Clean Diaper In Hand – For seasoned veterans, this may be referred to as the “duck and cover” maneuver. With what feels like a 10-pound, liquid-laden diaper to change, one would think that your baby could not possibly have any more urine in her tiny little body.  But whether it’s the fresh air or just an expression of appreciation, always – and I mean always – have a clean diaper ready to cover any “expression” from your bundle of joy.

5. Battles Were Meant to Be Lost – No matter how hard you try, your baby will win most of the battles. You may go into fatherhood with a “no binky” rule, but you may come out of it owning 22 binkies. You may go into it with a “let them cry it out” mentality, but after 90 minutes of her screaming at the top of her lungs at 2 o’clock in the morning, you will find yourself on the living room couch holding/feeding the baby for the umpteenth time. It’s okay. Battles happen. You were meant to lose most of them at this stage of the game. You’ll catch up later!

I hope you take this lighthearted post in the manner it was meant. I love my kids with all my heart, and I am convinced that God uses moments like these to refine us and teach us things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

As we are God’s children, He has done no less, and much more, for us.



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  1. This post put a huge smile on my face! It has been many years since my husband and I were new parents, but your advice is great! The funny thing about this post, is that these are the 5 things I needed to know, not my husband! LOL I had never even babysat before I had my first child, and he was the one who actually taught me how to change a diaper! Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings, Joan

    1. Joan,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad you found the humor in post and sorry the advice was too late 🙂


  2. LOL! I love this article. I read it hoping to encourage my husband with our 5 and 6 year olds. (He is recently out of the military and never had much time at home before.) I’m still going to share this with him, to relive the “fun” times we had while our kids were babies.

  3. Those are great things for new dads to know, and as you were talking about a little girl, but with a little boy( I had 2 they are both in their 30’s now) When you change the diaper, always keep his little you know what covered or you just might get a shower you don’t want. Their aim is amazingly good too. I always kept a spare diaper to lay over that all important part until I was ready to fasten the one I was putting on.

    1. Carla,
      All girls at this household but certainly have heard friends share their stories about boys…and it is always wise to be prepared. LOL!

    1. Cliff,
      Yes, boys bring their own challenges to be sure. Happy you enjoyed the post and got a chuckle out of it. Thanks!

  4. Does this ever bring back memories. I learned all of the above the hard way within the first 5 days of
    my affiliation to Maternity as a student nurse many years ago. Seasoned, experienced nurses, all
    around us just let it happen and made it a point not to share the information until all 5 things happened to each and every one of us. God forgive me, in my turn I never told my students one word. That policy is probably being played out in every nursing school in the country. Nurses have what is known as ” a gallows sense of humor “. Laughing gets us through the hard times or we would not last 2 weeks at the job.

    1. Taliesin, I am sure as a nurse you could add mightily to this list! Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Thanks for the insightful and humorous post, Mitchell. Just became a father for the first time just a week ago and can already tell that this advice is golden.

    1. Jacob, God bless you as you embark on the wonderful adventure of fatherhood. Keep your sense of humor as you go through those sleep-deprived nights. It is all truly a blessing!

  6. I’ve been a father for 4 days and I’ve already experienced #4. Hopefully I’ll be more prepared for the other 4 after reading this!

    1. Tyler, congrats on being a father! #4 is generally the first incident you will experience followed quickly by the others. It’s all good though. Enjoy the blessing of your child!

  7. Interesting article. I am 54 y/o father of my fifteen month old daughter. I have to say, this article confirms how blessed I am of God. We had only one bath worthy poop and it was not so much a blow out as it was just so much. Other than that, we always went in with the diaper for number four, and aside from the smell off her vomit when she had the flu, as did I at the same time, and my wife also, we really did not experience any of these. Well God made me wait 53 years for Katarina, and, well, I do truly believe I am blessed beyond comprehension.

    1. Mark, you have the right perspective. Whether or not you experience any of these encounters…you are indeed truly blessed.

  8. This was such a joy to read! I’m now 7 months pregnant with our first baby and my husband is attending the Army Ranger School right up until I have the baby. I printed this out and mailed it to him (our only method of communication for 3 months) and I know it will just make his day and hopefully prepare this nervous first time daddy. Thanks for your creativity and fun perspective:)

  9. This is the best article for dads I have ever found! Ever since I’ve been pregnant I’ve wanted to find something for my husband to help him out. Every article I’ve found that states it has tips for new dads is obviously written by a woman and only says things like pamper your wife, spoil your wife, blah blah blah. They should be titled “ways to make your wife happy” which my husband doesn’t need anyways because he’s already amazing! Thank you Mitchell for the article, I know my will get a laugh from it and will also keep the advice in mind, as will I.

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