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Monday, July 09, 2018

For Dads | Preparing for Baby

We typically hear of mothers reading, preparing, nesting, etc. in order to get ready for the arrival of a new baby. However, dads are just as much a parent as mothers and need to prepare as well. Here are a few simple ways that fathers can get ready for the birth of their child:

1. Read!
There are so many parenting books available.  Take time to read at least one! Learn what it is that your spouse/partner will be going through during birth and delivery -- YouTube could help with this, but don't freak yourself out (ha!).  Recognize that although medicine has come a long way, birthing a child is a delicate process.  Be sure to know what to expect and to be able and willing to ask appropriate questions, and even be an advocate for your spouse, if needed.

2. Visit/Help Friends with Kids
If this is your first child or even your second, try helping out a friend who has children or one who has multiple to get a feel for what you're in for. 

3. Nest in Your Own Way
Help baby proof the home. Put things together that require assembling. Get carpets cleaned.  You name it!  Whatever you feel is necessary to prepare the home for the arrival of your child, do it.  There are things your wife just can't do, doesn't think to do, or just doesn't have the time -- she's building a baby, you know.  It's also okay if you're not sure what needs to be done.  If that's the case, don't be afraid to ask how you can help.

4. Attend Classes
If there's something you're not sure about or just curious about, take a class to familiarize yourself with the dos/don'ts of the particular topic.  Or, if there is a class that your wife wants to take be sure to make yourself available to attend.  You'll be surprised at how helpful it is for you to hear the same things your wife is hearing about how to breastfeed at a breastfeeding class so that you can help reinforce some things in the event breastfeeding is a challenge those first few weeks.

5. Have a Heart-to-Heart with Your Partner
Talk through your fears, concerns and hopes and dreams for the baby.  Discuss what you're looking forward to but also discuss some of your hesitations about the journey ahead.  Is there something that you don't know how to do and will need guidance on?  Are there things you're really excited about and can't wait to experience?  Share those thoughts and feelings with your spouse, and just talk through it all. 

6. Read through Birth Plan/Preferences
If a birth plan has been created, be sure to read through it multiple times.  Know the expectations that your partner has for the delivery.  Ask questions, and talk about any adjustments that may be needed.

7.  Help Baby to Recognize Your Voice
Talk to the baby before they even get here! Whenever you and your spouse are sitting on the couch or bed, always be sure to stay close to her belly.  You don't have to talk to the baby per se, although that is fun and helpful too, just being near the belly while talking to your partner about your day, plans, etc. is a plus.  It gives the baby a chance to hear your voice here and there so that it's already a familiar sound.  My oldest daughter always sat right up under me throughout my pregnancy talking to me about any and everything.  When our littlest was born, I noticed that she would always react to Madison's voice, smiling and giggling -- because she was already so used to hearing that sound. Trust me, it makes a difference.

8. Spend One-on-one time With Your Partner
Don't forget to continue to nurture your relationship.  It's so easy to get caught up in preparing for a baby and the changes they will bring.  But, be sure to make time to connect with each other as much as you can before baby arrives. 

Live Fully,
Photo by Natasha N. Smith Photography

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