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Having a baby can be a very exciting time, but also very nerve racking for first time parents. Especially for new dads, who may feel left out of the parenting conversation.

Though, it's actually critical for the child's development to have a positive connection with their children. Having a father figure can help develop emotional regulation skills, cognitive behavioral function, and general health and well-being.

Well, how does a dad really do that? Redditor spektorboi wanted advice from real dads who have been through those early, critical stages of development with their kids.


Reddit user spektorboi asked:

"Dads of Reddit, what's a tip you can give a soon to be father for the first year of fatherhood?"

If you're wondering about keeping calm during crying fits, bonding with your child, or disciplining your child, these are some amazing answers,

Don't fall for it, Dads.

"90% of the toys and accessories 'you must buy' will go unused. It's a cliche but your kid will play with the box more than anything."

"I highly recommend books as it's good learning and bonding time."

- wdd10

"I firmly believe that one of the biggesr things that lead to my mental development is that my parents bought legos for me. When i was little and a choking hazard, they got the jumbo sized blocks. It really helps your imagination and understanding of 3d space and dexterity. They also bought these neoprene foam blocks for the bathtub. There were always things like this to keep me stimulated growing up."

"I graduated from large legos and block sets to tinker toys and link-n-logs and large-piece puzzles, to regular legos and regular jigsaw puzzles, to knex. If they had it back then I probably would have moved on to those kinematic and robotic kits."

- Hanzburger

Sometimes the toys you buy are influential!

"One of my sons who had (still has) a crazy amount of LEGOs is now an architect doing design & build work. I can't think of a better investment for kids, though I guess the easy bake oven and kitchen set was pretty solid too for one of my other sons with mad culinary skills now…"

- AireXpert

It's backed by science!

"Well have I got science for you!! There's a few studies on the influence of childhood play on spatial reasoning in adults. Here's one studying college students, and it basically says that spatial reasoning was better in those "who played action, construction, or sports video games in childhood" or "played with construction-based toys." – doi:10.1130/GES01494.1"

"I started with those big legos too, then moved on to mapping out my lego towns with my My Little Ponies and Barbies, and now if I get drunk and a mahjong rubiks cube is around I tear that shit up."

"Reinforcement of learned skills during crucial developmental periods is what creates most "natural" ability."

- bbbliss

Please, keep calm.

"No matter what happens don't shake the baby."

- Endless_Vanity

"And it's absolutely OK to walk away and take a break from a crying baby, if you're feeling frustrated."

- that_name_taken

If the baby is in a safe place, it's okay to walk away.

"Adding on to this; if you're frustrated and starting to vigorously rock a colicky baby, stop. Put the baby in their crib or somewhere safe. Leave the room, close the door and take a shower. This works for a number of reasons."

"1. The hot water is soothing."

"2. You're probably not on a consistent shower schedule with a colicky baby and you smell."

"3. The sound of the water will drown out the cries, which is a good thing!"

"The baby is safe, it's okay if they cry for 10 minutes while you reset your brain. You can't help them if you are stressed, you have to calm down before you can help."

- Riellyfunnyguys

Be creative with your coping.

"This is seriously great advice. I found myself repeatedly frustrated with a my first daughter had serious gas issues for the first couple months and struggled to sleep at night because of it. She had to be rocked or carried around to fall back asleep - which was tiresome to do night after night. She had no control over it, it just was."

"Lacking any healthier outlet, I sang to her about how I was tired and wanted her to go to sleep. Turns out, she was soother by the singing and I was soothed by letting my frustration out. Find some silly and healthy way of coping - be creative. It worked for me - and helped a lot in terms of bonding."

- BucketheadFPQ

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It's all about perspective.

"Understand that to your child you are a giant. When you get mad, realize that you yelling at the kid is like a 30 foot giant standing over you. Really try to imagine how scary that would be."

"If you do it right you'll picture that every time you get angry and it'll give you some perspective."

- Warlock_Magus

"It is all about perspective. A baby/child doesn't know anything. They do not do things to p*ss you off. Be empathetic to their issues. The baby phase is easy as they generally only cry if they're hungry/tired/full nappy. Obviously there are more reasons but generally. Not the rule. If you approach them empathetic to their plight, not only will you be calmer and better equipped emotionally to deal with them long term with more complex issues, but they will want to talk to you in future because of that empathy and showing of compassion regardless of how trivial you may think it is"

- RedFoxxLegend

Three conditions for saying 'no.'

"Be patient. Every skill you want your child to master needs time to develop and space to flourish. They can't just 'copy' your way of doing things, because they won't make sense to the child the same way they make sense to you."

"Always discipline out of love, never hate! Never forget that you're a parent first and a cool friend last, though."

- Smeggfaffa

"I agree. I was very lucky in that I had pretty great parents. I try to emulate mom in a few ways and say no under three conditions: it isn't safe, there isn't time or there isn't money.

"'Daddy can we play outside' isn't something I always want to do, but she's three. How can anyone say no to that? Kids should be outside more! We'll go hit the trampoline or play tag or something."

- Cheeto_Bantito_420

"If by discipline you mean hitting your child, then just don't. Hitting children is not good for anything. This is recognized in a large number of developed countries and forbidden in a number of countries in Europe."

- madsdyd

"Also, 'discipline' only really works in the moment and only teaches them what not to do (and they can be unclear on generalizing). Yelling at them for drawing on the walls with crayon may make them stop doing that, but won't prevent them from practicing graffito on another wall like praising them for drawing on paper will."

- scolfin

Headphones for crying.

"An excellent pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be a life-saver the first 3-6 months. Not to ignore them obviously, but if you need to walk them around to calm them down it helps A LOT."

- Ashweather

"'No baby has ever died from crying' really put it in perspective for me. If you're too frazzled, it's okay to step back for a few minutes to collect yourself and calm down. In fact, it's not just okay, it is what you should do."

- Quarks2Cosmos

"The corollary to this is 'no baby ever fell off the floor.' My wife and I used that one with both our boys if we needed a short break. Put the baby on the floor, go do what you need to (take a breath, go pee, get a drink, prep a bottle, etc) and come back. For the first few months at least, they aren't going anywhere."

- Kennertron

Duck and cover!

"When changing diapers:"

"If it's a girl, wipe front to back."

"If it's a boy, assume it's loaded and will unload at anytime and at max range."

- know_vagrancy

"For a boy, wipe his lower belly with a cold wipe before taking off the diaper, most of the time it tricks him into peeing. Most of the time."

- demonicfeces

"For all other times, leave a washcloth or (if it's not too gross) the nappy/diaper you just removed over the penis as an intercepting shield."

Otherwise_Window

Baby Bonding.

"Lots of good advice already. I have 2 things to add about breast feeding. You can't! But you can help. For the middle of the night feedings, whether planned or unplanned, I would get up, get our daughter, check the diaper, and bring the baby to mom while mom does whatever to make herself comfortable. I nap while they feed. When done, I took her back to bed, checked the diaper and went back to bed where mom was asleep again. Its not much, but my wife appreciated it."

"You can't get that mother/baby feeding bond, but I took a different approach to getting that bonding moment-diaper change! It has to be done, so make it a dad/baby bonding thing. Don't race. Its not the Daytona 500 where seconds count. Play with her/him while you clean them up. Find their feet, their nose. Laugh when they giggle. Bond. Mommy makes the tummy better, dad makes the bottom better. Both are very important to baby. Of course I don't mean you have to change all the diapers, just make the most of it when you do."

"Have fun. Remember, you're not going to be perfect. There's a heck of a learning curve. Babies are tougher than they look, but still delicate."

"Oh, that first morning you wake up and baby slept through the night is scary. You'll be happy when it happens and everybody is fine, but it is scary when it happens."

- mynextthroway

"The breastfeeding was huge for wife and I. We did it in the babies room, but I made it a point to get up and go with her change the baby's diaper and then hand her to my wife. I laid on the floor and played game boy while wife and baby fed in the rocking chair. Then when all was done swaddled baby back up put her in bed and crawled my a** back in bed with the wife. But also important and you kind of glossed over it."

"Keep calm and relax. All babies are different some are chill AF and some scream all night. Neither one spells doom and gloom. Just do your best to understand that sometimes it's fine to put baby down in a safe place like crib and walk away for a few minutes to regain yourself. Being a first time parent is very hard so try not to listen too much to other people who tell you the baby should do x or y by z date."

"Finally yup. even though my last baby in story above was my second baby to raise and care for first night she slept through terrified me when I woke up."

- RubberPuppet

By the way, don't forget your wife.

"When my wife was breastfeeding she would get super thirsty the moment our baby latched on. Have a glass of water ready when she sits down with the baby."

- Yeeteth_thy_baby

Though, are we gonna trust someone with a username like Yeeteth_thy_baby?

The first 8 weeks.

"The first 8 weeks are not representative of the overall experience."

"Some people say the first 8 weeks are the hardest. Some people say it gets easier after the first 8 weeks....but that's almost...an oversimplification of the transition to 'parenthood.'"

"What in trying to say is: there will be days during the first 8 weeks that you think things are going badly, don't despair in those sleep deprived emotional moments: you've got this!"

- Yeeteth_thy_baby

"The first 8 weeks are the most straightforward. They're not easy but pretty standard across babies, for the most part. When they start crawling and walking, then you got problems."

- squidravioli

"Oh lord. I look back at those first 8 weeks with envy. So easy. I wasn't working. My husband had lots of holiday. My parents were around. People came to coo over the adorable baby and bring me stuff. And the baby did basically nothing. Eat sleep poop. It stayed where I put it and it didn't sass me. And you're kinda riding the high of the new baby you've been waiting for for so long."

"Then they learn to move. And talk. And all bets are off."

"You settle into routine, real life comes back and you have to actually figure out your schedule properly and work out how to fit the new baby in long term around everything else that hasn't just magically vanished..."

"I'm more exhausted now trying to out logic the damn child and figure out how to be at work and school pickup at the same time!"

- likeaf*ckingninja

There are plenty of tender moments to be had with your new born, even if at times you're ready to throw in the towel. I really appreciate what know_vagrancy had to say:

"Share your stories, connect with others, and don't be afraid to join social circles / groups to connect with other new parents. It makes us realize we are not alone with our struggles."

You're not alone!

"Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here."

Photo by aisvri on Unsplash

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