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I'm a dad-of-three and these are my tips for first-time fathers

Dad influencer shares his advice on the baby stage – paternity leave, couple time and sleep!

Dad Oliver with one of his little girls
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
November 1, 2023
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Becoming a parent is one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences in the world and there’s plenty of advice out there for first-time mums, but what about the men who are preparing to be parents?

From getting their head around fatherhood, supporting their partner and learning about the baby stage, there’s plenty on the dad-to-be’s mind too. New fathers, you are not forgotten!

Dad influencer and father of three daughters Olly Huddlestone of @dadlifewithriver knows a thing or two about babies. Below, he shares his top five tips for first-time dads with HELLO!

WATCH: 7 things you never knew about royal babies

1) Make the most of paternity leave

Trust me, this one is important as those two weeks go fast, REALLY fast! 

One minute you’re in hospital crying with happiness after welcoming the newest member of the family to the world. The next, your 6:30am alarm is ringing and you’re leaving mum and baby in bed on a dark, wet morning for the daily commute.

For those lucky enough to get paternity leave, don’t waste it. Use it to bond with the baby, help mum out and get stuck into all the things that are now a big part of your life.

Making the bottle or changing a nappy seem easy from the outside - and they mostly are - but, like anything in life, the first time you do it, things may not go as planned. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Olly is a dad to three daughters
Olly is a dad to three daughters

2) Don’t panic

Look, I get it. You’re about to welcome a tiny human into the world, and the responsibility is all yours. It’s a scary thought but try not to panic.

You can read all of the parenting books on the planet, go to all the baby classes, and so on, but that can’t prepare you for a poo explosion in the middle of the supermarket, or getting baby sick all over your backseat whilst stuck in a traffic jam on the M25.

I think the key is just not to panic and to take it all in your stride.

As first-time mums, dads and parents in general, when that baby is born we’re all at the very beginning of one of life’s biggest learning curves. Being a dad really is the best experience you’ll ever have, so just try to enjoy it along the way.

3) Find time to do things as a couple

Don’t get me wrong, this is probably the toughest to actually implement out of the five points in this list, but it is so important.

‘But who has time to go out for a meal when you have a newborn baby?’ I hear you ask. A very valid point. The thing is you have to make time. 

Something as simple as a coffee or meal, just the two of you, can go a long way. An hour away from the parenting bubble that now consumes your life, where you can just relax and have a conversation that doesn’t involve baby wipes! 

Dad Influencer Olly with his girls sitting on steps on holiday
Dad Influencer Olly with his girls

4) Don’t compare yourself to others

This is something we all do as dads. Mums do it too. Whether it’s comparing buggies, kids’ eating habits, or how many words they say by a certain age; it’s natural to take note of how others are parenting around you. 

 The reality is, we’re all on our own journey into parenthood and comparing your experience to someone else’s rarely helps.

Some dads are very hands-on, some are less confident. Some dads work from home and are lucky enough to see their kids every day, others work away and may not get to spend as much time with them. Some children are walking by the age of one, some take a little longer. 

 All these different scenarios lead to different experiences of being a dad.

 My advice is to concentrate on your own child’s development, plus your journey as a father, rather than compare with others, as no two dads have the same experience.

5) Make the most of sleep while you can

A light-hearted tip, but one that has so much truth behind it. To any expectant first-time parents out there, make the most of your lie-ins while you still can.

Yes, parenting is the best experience ever, and yes, fatherhood is the most rewarding thing on the planet, but is one lie-in during the five years I’ve been a dad too much to ask for?!  

Follow Olly's girl-dad life on YouTubeInstagram and TikTok. He also chats about football on YouTube.

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