When a new baby arrives it is not just the baby that is born. A new mother and a new father are “born” too. Dads – your role as a father begins not just at the birth but during the pregnancy too.
Here are a few tips of things you should do – and shouldn’t do – to support your partner during her pregnancy.
- Do listen to friends and relatives who have been there before. Other dads will tell it like it is and won’t sugar coat things for you.
- Do understand hormones – your partner is going through major hormonal changes. If she asks you to bring a roast beef sandwich home and then refuses to eat it, just smile and be patient. By no means does this mean you can eat the sandwich though! Be patient and tolerant of mood swings and your partners’ unusual needs.
- Do be at the birth. It is an unforgettable day and most dads rise to the occasion.
- Do remember the little things. Little treats go a long way.
- Do get involved with the buying, but don’t be tempted to “pick stuff up” on a whim. Your partner probably has a set idea of what she wants the nursery to look like and the type of pushchair/stroller she will need.
- Do do your research.
- Do go to all scans, appointments and classes where possible.
- Do understand your role at the birth.
- Do touch the bump but don’t encourage others to, unless your wife is comfortable with all and sundry touching it.
- Don’t focus only on the practical things. While planning the route to the hospital and completing any DIY tasks are important, make sure you are emotionally available to your partner too. Remember you are in this together so keep talking to each other about how you are feeling.
- Don’t forget to look after yourself. Keep fit, happy, well prepared and healthy. That is the best way to be able to support your partner.
Being a brilliant dad and supportive partner means you may need to make some small changes.
Once your baby is born:
- Do put mum and baby’s interests first. Your partner is bound to be emotional and exhausted.
- Do do the chores. Help out where you can. The early days can be a blur of feeding, crying and nappy changes. Household chores can be difficult to get to.
- Do make time to play.
- Do spend your spare time with your baby. The thing your child wants most from you, from birth right up to adulthood, is your time.
- Do read to your baby.
- Do demonstrate and instil good self-esteem.
- Do protect your family.
Most importantly, enjoy fatherhood and be there as part of the parenting team!
By Meg Faure