If you are a soon-to-be father and a nervous one at that, we get you. After all, having a baby is a huge responsibility, and it is a bit overwhelming to see your partner be on a crazy, physical, and emotional roller coaster ride.
So, if you are wondering where to find an effective step-by-step survival guidebook for a new father, we have you covered. The good news? The government has extended paternity leave to two weeks from January 2017. The not-so-good news? They might just be the most intense, unexpected, draining but ultimately rewarding two weeks of your life.
Here are a few things you could do during your paternity leave to make your wife (who must already be tired trying hard to cope with everything new) feel better. Oh, and playing golf is not on the list.
1. Do the not-so-manly jobs
The two weeks of paternity leave will be the time for many ‘firsts’ in your life. You will have to help out in household chores, run to get diapers, or even wake up multiple times at night to rock the baby. It is good to be prepared.
Ditch those sloppy post-it notes and make use of resourceful housekeeping apps to get the work done. Also, save time (and sometimes even money) by ordering groceries online. Apart from this, you could water the plants, wash and sterilize baby bottles, cook some confinement food (check recipes online), and organize the laundry. These little things you do for the house will let your wife focus on her recovery and the baby’s needs.
2. Make sure the confinement nanny is comfortable
If you have found a confinement nanny who is a godsend, make sure she does not face any issues in your house. Always remember, she is the key to your wife sailing through this tough phase smoothly. After all, she is the one who helps your wife take care of the baby, prepares the food, takes care of the baby’s clothes, and makes sure your wife gets some much-needed rest. So, if the nanny is happy, your wife is happy.
3. Bond with the baby
Pick up the baby, hug the baby, and rock the baby – even if you are scared that you might unknowingly hurt the fragile little human being. Spend every minute you can with the new entrant of your family since you will miss him/her dearly once you resume work. It is the perfect time for you all to bond as a family, and this early bonding does go a long way.
4. Ensure baby essentials are stocked up
You don’t want to go hunting for a thermometer in the middle of the night to check if your baby has fever. It is best to have the basics in place before the baby comes in. During your leave, you could keep stock of diapers, supplements, wet wipes, and all other baby essentials and stock them up well before they deplete. This will make sure you do not have any midnight crisis, which could have been averted if someone was just paying more attention.
5. Become the financial superhero
While you and your wife are trying your best to fit into the role of new parents, it is difficult to find time to check the financial aspect of the situation. However, as a father, it is your responsibility to make sure your parenthood journey starts on a financially sound foot.
Under the Baby Bonus scheme, the government will match dollar-for-dollar your contributions to a special co-savings scheme that is opened when your child is born, known as the Child Development Account (CDA). CDA savings can be used to pay for your child’s educational and healthcare expenses. There are three CDA banks in Singapore that grant different discounts when you sign up with them – OCBC Bank, POSB/DBS, and UOB Bank.
Take a look at which merchant discounts fit your family lifestyle or what you are planning for your child. For example, OCBC offers a Baby Bonus card that allows you to enjoy discounts on activities related to education, such as 50% off preschool materials and 10% off lesson fees when you enroll your kid in Chinese enrichment programmes at the Confucius Institute at NTU. Or, with the POSB Baby Bonus NETS Card that comes with the POSB Smiley CDA account, you can get discounted beauty and massage treatment packages to take the edge off as a frazzled new parent.
6. Keep calm
This is a new phase for both you and your wife. There will be loads of confusion, misinterpretation, and arguments. However, since your wife has already done the biggest job of giving birth, you are the one who will have to maintain your cool and be there for her whenever she needs you. Don’t ever get into the blame game as nobody wins in the end. Take a deep breath and put your nicest face on, along with the best foot, of course.
7. Take care of your other kids
Not your first kid? Then you already have your hands full. To ensure that the other kids in your family don’t feel left out, do spend time with them or include them in your activities. Teach them to do small things for the little one, with an ice cream treat as a surprise.
Of course, don’t forget to enjoy this phase since it will not last long.
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