SingaporeMotherhood | Baby & Toddler

March 2014

10 Tips for Dads-to-be, from Dads-who’ve-been

It’s not just women who learn about pregnancy and parenting when the pee-stick shows a Postive. Men also go through a learning process and are filled with expectations and anxiety, especially when it comes to being a first-time parent. No matter how much you read, research, and ask you’ll never be fully prepared for the experience. What you read in books or the stories you hear from your friends might not always happen to you. But better to be prepared than not, yes? We asked some fathers about the parenting lessons they’ve learnt along the way and this is what they shared. Read up and learn, dads-to-be!


1. Listen To The Woman

“I was still busying myself with household chores when my wife felt her contractions. It was for real, this time! And the pain was getting more intense with each contraction. I brushed my wife off saying, ‘But your water bag hasn’t burst!’ I could only blame myself for being so insensitive. Wish I could’ve shared the pain and understand better.” 

Aidan T, 39, freelance editor, father of three children aged 7, 2 1/2 and 6 months

2. Develop A Superpower

“I wish I knew how – or had the power – to make the newborn go to sleep. Most parents, if not all, have gone through months (and some even years) of sleepless nights due to the feeding and crying. That includes the dads, by the way. And when the mum is feeling depressed, there’s a high chance that pretty soon, the dad will come to know about it, or it’ll soon rub off on him. There’s no silver bullet, and there’s no one tried-and-tested method that will work on all babies to make them go to sleep. They’re uniquely special, and each one reacts to a different stimulus. I remember how, during one of the early days, I picked the new baby up and carried him, and he suddenly quietened down. My wife was surprised and called me the ‘baby whisperer’. Unfortunately, that accolade did not last very long. So if there’s one advice I would give parents of newborns, it’d be: ‘Don’t expect one way to work. Have a bunch of tricks up your sleeves, or try different methods. And don’t give up.’”
Dinesh Subramaniam, 40, Communications & Branding Director, dad to two children aged 8 and 3

3. Think Practical, Expect the Unexpected

“There was an immense feeling of love during birth and I wasn’t prepared for that! Make sure you have a chilled gynae as anything else is just not in keeping with the mood! Practical things… thank goodness I had a long-sleeved shirt with me, as the wife gets very cold immediately after birth. There’s a strange feeling after the baby is passed to father… you are expected to have the biggest emotional bond with something so strange… it doesn’t come instantly…”
Hass A, 45, in sports marketing, dad to three children aged 11, 8, and 5

4. Start Early

“I wish I’d had her earlier!”
David Khoo, 39, automotive journalist, dad to a girl aged 2.5 years

5. Be Prepared for Blood

“When the baby came out, it looked so bloody, as if a piece of my wife’s flesh came out. The sight was quite morbid and I obviously turned pale… short of fainting. The nurse saw me and asked me to turn away because the placenta was on its way out and I heard it’s worse. My advice for dads-to-be: look away if you cannot stand the sight of blood as there’s lots of it!”
Dennis Chong, Senior Marketing Manager, dad to two kids aged 9 and 5

6. Remain Ignorant

“I wish I didn’t read tips on what to do. Throughout the nine months, my wife didn’t have any food cravings, had no trouble sleeping, was eating normally and barely acted up. Our child inside her was the only change but all these tips said she would have food cravings, won’t eat certain things and have behavioural issues. So when she didn’t have any of these, I started getting worried. Was she okay? Was the baby okay? Were we doing something wrong? Are these issues going to crop up in the first trimester? The second? Or last? In the end, each child and mother are different and a lot of the tips I read up on, weren’t helpful. It’s like getting tips on skydiving. Nothing will prepare you for your own experience.”
Loh Wei Loong, 37, Writer, dad to a toddler aged 26 months

7. Read The Signs

“I wish I knew just how heavy the baby would get and how much walking I’d have to do when getting her to sleep. I might have worked out more when I had the time! I also wish I knew her signs, as in her faces, her body language, but that’s something you can’t possibly know. I would’ve loved to know from the beginning which face meant she was upset, or hungry, or tired. Knowing how to read her signs would’ve saved us a lot of worrying and stress later on.”
Drew Pan, 34, Social Media Manager, dad to a daughter aged 7 months

8. Enjoy The Moment

“No two pregnancies are the same. I thought I was prepared when my wife was pregnant with our second child but it was totally different and all my efforts went to waste. I suggest both of you enjoy every moment of it and try your best to share the experience with your wife as much as you can.”
Albert T, engineer, 38, dad to two children aged 5 and 2

9. You Might Get Lucky (the second time)

“When my wife was pregnant with our first son, I wish I had known how fussy and restless he would be every night for the first few weeks. I had to carry him and walk up and down the house from 2am to 5am almost every night! When my second son was born, I got myself ready for the same experience all over again. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that he slept through the night without problems. Lesson learnt: even though they came from the same parents, no two babies are alike!”
Don Bosco, 42, Author and Founder of Super Cool Books, dad to two boys aged 10 and 7

10. Get Ready for Clone Wars

“I wish I had known that my wife would become a clone of me when she was pregnant with our firstborn. She literally became a french-fry-eating, nap-happy, TV-and-movie addict during the pregnancy! This was awesome and I wished I had known earlier, so I could have planned nine months worth of junk food and movie marathons in advance.”
Imran Johri 40, Marketing Director, dad to a baby aged 7 months

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10 Tips for Dads-to-be, from Dads-who’ve-been