Preparing for your baby’s arrival can be a weird time; there’s excitement and joy, nervousness and anticipation, and lots of questions. In this guide, we’ll talk about four ways to get ready for your newborn. This is especially helpful for first-time dads!

1. Build a Changing Station for Champions

One of the first things you should attend to in preparing for your newborn is building a top-notch baby changing station—honestly, this is where you’ll spend a good chunk of your time during the first month or so of your baby’s arrival.

In general, there are so many things to buy: baby clothes, washable bibs, blankets, and all the baby moving gear (i.e., strollers and car seats). It can be helpful to start creating a list of things you and your partner have agreed are the items you don’t need to buy; this way, you won’t find yourself confused at the store having bought things you’ve never heard of and may never use due to the flashy marketing of the baby aisle!

Now let’s get back to your diaper changing station. Here you’ll want to stock up on products that work well and don’t trash the environment. After all, you want to explore the world with your kiddo once they’re old enough! You’ll need sustainably created diapers, eco friendly baby wipes, a sturdy changing pad, quality rash cream, and effective hand sanitizer.

2. Learn as much as you can!

As dads, we have a different preparation experience since our bodies don’t undergo the same changes and shifts as our partners. This means that we need to really get into the headspace of being a parent. One way to do this is diving headfirst into books aimed to support and teach new fathers. Reading and figuring out what questions you even have is a great starting point and should probably happen one week out from the delivery date!

You’ll learn many things on the job (after your newborn is already here), but one thing you don’t want to learn on the spot is how to save your child if they’re choking or not breathing for any reason. Thankfully, CPR for newborns and children is something that you can learn in advance. It’s valuable training and prepares you to save your child’s life should a nightmarish situation ever arise that puts their life at risk.

3. Think about Eating and Sleeping Routines

Your newborn will disrupt all the routines that you currently have….or further confuse your schedule if your routines are loose. Learn about building a sleep routine with your baby, and talk about how you’ll manage and share responsibility for feeding and late- night wake-ups with your partner.

Keep this plan flexible because whatever you plot will need to be altered once the new baby arrives. However, it doesn’t hurt to start having these conversations early and set the stage for constant recalibration with routines for hygiene, sleeping, and eating. It can be tricky to find time for grocery shopping and cooking in the first month. That said, meal delivery services are a great option, especially if you don’t have family in town who can provide some pre-made meals.

4. Get Excited, Stay Excited

Newborns are pretty cool—and while there is a lot to buy, reconfigure, and learn, the most important thing is to reconnect time and time again with a feeling of excitement. Make a point of thinking about, writing down, or even discussing with your partner the things you are most excited about when it comes to being a father. Then, reconnect to these things when you’re sleep-deprived and changing your third diaper of the hour.

Fatherhood is a wild ride with lots of ups and downs. Buckle up and prepare for your baby’s arrival—knowing that nothing can truly prepare you for the moment they arrive and the total shift in your reality—because it’s going to be awesome.

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