Congratulations on being an expectant father!
Here are some ways to start your very special and unique connection to your child:
- Become involved starting with the pregnancy.
- Go to the prenatal visits.
- Take a New Dad’s Class.
- Talk to other fathers and other mothers. (Your own parents might also be an excellent source of support.)
- Attend breastfeeding class.
- Ask questions!!
- Read books!!
During the pregnancy:
- Keep a sense of humor.
- Support your partner.
- Try to help her adjust.
- Compliment her. (If she is feeling better about herself she will be able to tell you how important you are to her and the baby!)
Becoming a father will give you a chance to look at your priorities in life. New babies require a lot of time and attention. Your partner will need your presence, your help, and your support. Get work projects out of the way before labor and delivery. Your new project will be to take care of your family. Be involved in the decision.
After the baby is born, keep a sense of humor. Consider scheduling vacation from your work/job. However, it is not a “vacation” to be up at night with a new baby. Doing baby’s bath, changing diapers, preparing meals, doing the wash, and managing visitors are some ways to contribute. Spend these early days getting to know your new child. Your baby will only be this new once. Meeting the needs of the baby will not always involve hygiene or feedings. A father who chooses to be involved can be skilled at playing with the baby. This is an important part of how baby will learn about the world around him/her.
Realize that new moms often have emotional ups and downs that are not predictable. Be supportive and offer an ear when possible. Learn the warning signs of postpartum depression and when to seek help.
A wise person once said that the days of parenthood pass slowly, but the time passes quickly… so embrace the experience!