Being present at the birth of your child is a huge – unbelievably huge – moment in life. Here is some advice for how those of you who are going to be a dad, or are not giving birth yourself, can help your partner.
- Educate yourself. Take a childbirth class or ask people you know who already have children. Find out what your partner expects from you once the contractions start. The more you know, the easier it is to get involved.
Read this really cool birth story!
- Some people engage the services of a doula, who also helps the partner not giving birth to take an active role in the delivery.
- Do a test run! Make sure you know how to get to the hospital (and not just to the main entrance, but also to the maternity ward). Ask the hospital about any rules affecting your participation and if you may be present during a Cesarean section.
Don’t miss this! An expert’s 5 most important tips for all dads
You can’t nurse. Do what you can, instead.
If you’re going to be a dad and/or you will not be nursing, you can still get involved. It is a wonderful sign that you are committed to the relationship with each other and your child – and it improves the chances that nursing will be successful! Here are three golden tips.
- Be supportive. Nursing can be exhausting. Why not get a glass of water for your partner or take more responsibility at home than you would normally do? This will make things easier both for nursing and your relationship.
- Grab every opportunity to have close contact with your baby. Cuddle skin-to-skin, give baths, sing songs and let your baby sleep on your chest – these strengthen the bond between you and your baby just like nursing does. They will also help you learn to read your baby’s behavior and crying.
- You can’t nurse. Do what you can, instead. Let it be your job to burp the baby after nursing. And hold the baby in your arms for the same amount of time as it took to nurse.
Misconception that the person who nurses the baby automatically has qualities that make her a better parent.
Four completely normal feelings
If you’re going to be a dad, don’t stress about becoming an expert on everything. When you are not sure what to do, How do I change a diaper? Experiment. How do I comfort a crying baby? Experiment!
The more time you spend with your baby, the more confident you will become as a dad. This makes it easier to deal with these completely normal, but still difficult, feelings:
- Concern about not successfully creating as close a relationship with the baby as the parent who is nursing.
- Feeling redundant and less important as a parent.
- Bitterness that the child has “come between” you and your partner.
- Misconception that the person nursing the baby automatically has qualities that make her a better parent.
Source: Mats Berggren, lecturer on the topic of becoming a dad, and BabyCenter
Send us a line if you have more advice for expecting dads who want to be involved from the very start. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org