How to be the best daddy from the 1st day

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It’s only normal any proud father would be excited and expectant about the impending arrival of his new baby. However, being the best father before, during and after delivery can be a real challenge. Here are some tips to help you:

During the pregnancy

1. Jobs, big and small: When your partner is pregnant, one of the most important things you can do for her is to offer support, understanding and able-bodied assistance. 

2. Just be there: When she’s irritable and uncomfortable, having a haven at home can be bliss.  Try to keep in mind why she’s irritable and do your best to smooth things over.  After all, she’s weighed down and not feeling the best so try to soften the impact.

3. The lovely foot rub: Fluid retention and swollen legs are expected during pregnancy.  A foot rub can be as valuable as a diamond necklace to a pregnant woman, especially if it’s done with love. Similarly, a shoulder massage or even allowing her some time off her feet will be just as welcome.

4. Take an interest: Browsing the baby aisle at the supermarket may not be your idea of retail therapy but your partner will swoon at the very sight of pretty bibs, adorable bootees and colorful linen.  If she asks your opinion, try to give a well-formed one instead of shrugging and saying “I don’t know, darling”.

5. Car seat: Either go shopping together or take it upon yourself to research and buy the baby carrier/car seat and have it installed so that it is ready for when the baby is born.

6. The nursery: Naturally, setting up the nursery is something you’ll want to discuss and do together.  Make it a priority so that it’s one less thing to think about as the pregnancy enters the final stages. Painting should be done early on and other furnishings can be arranged when the money is available or when items are on sale. Help hang curtains, install shelves and generally prepare the nursery for the arrival of the baby.

7. Attend doctor’s visits: You won’t know the wonder of seeing your very own baby growing and developing in your partner’s belly unless you go along to one or more of the prenatal visits at the doctor’s office. If you miss all other appointments, make sure you don’t miss the ones that include an ultrasound examination. And afterwards, why not go out for lunch and make a real event of it?

8. Remember your relationship: Once the baby enters the world, your relationship is likely to change. Now is the time to cement the love that you have for each other and talk about the demands that will be upon you both after the birth. Act now to remind each other of the romance and partnership you share.

Labor and delivery

Here comes the big challenge! Watching your loved one go through agony and frustration can be tormenting but remember, there is a grand prize at the end.

1. Be supportive: Above all, your partner will be leaning on you for support. That means holding her hand, helping her walk, massaging her back, calling the nurse, getting her water to drink, reminding her of her breathing, timing the contractions, helping her to the bathroom, and all other manner of considerations. It may not be easy but it will definitely be appreciated.

2. Be prepared to feel like you’re in the way: In the delivery room, you are a witness to everything that is going on. You may choose to cut the umbilical cord, you may be called upon to make important decisions and you will, most importantly, meet your new baby at the end of the delivery. You are every bit as important as your partner; just be prepared to take somewhat of a back seat.

3. Offer help: Whether or not it’s required, offer assistance where it appears to be needed.  Your partner and the professionals on hand will gladly accept if they know you are willing and able.

4. Don’t panic: Try to remain calm and level-headed throughout the delivery.  If you feel as though you are going to faint or lose your composure, remove yourself from the environment, and return when you feel better.

5. Be the messenger: Everyone - family and friends - will be anxious to hear news.  If the delivery is taking longer than expected, it will be up to you to keep everyone informed so they don’t worry.

6. Step in if necessary: If you feel that something is not going according to the way you and your partner had planned, say so. Your partner may be too exhausted to speak up and will be relying on you to be the spokesman for both of you. Similarly, if you are concerned about her safety or wellbeing, or that of the baby, you must raise your concerns immediately.

7. Cut the cord: What a beautiful moment it is to help deliver your new child. Cutting the umbilical cord is symbolic of your profound role as father and welcoming your baby into the world. If you don’t feel up to it, just say so and hold your partner’s hand instead. 

8. Bath the baby

9. Tell your wife how proud you are of her: When the big moment has finally arrived, there can almost be a sensation of disappointment as the excitement dies down. The doctor goes off to attend to another patient, the baby has stopped crying and everyone appears busy with other tasks. Now is the time to share a special moment with your partner. Tell her how amazed you were at what she managed to achieve and tell her how much you love her.

10. Share the good news

After the baby is born

You’ve endured the pregnancy together, survived the delivery together and now you have a future to look forward to with your new baby. Having lots of information about your baby's care and your baby's world is crucial; click here and be the hero dad who knows everything about his newborn. . Here, too, are things you can do to be the best father you can be:

1. Share in the care: On nights when you have to work the next day, your sleep is important. But when you have the next day off, it can be a huge relief to take over the night feedings or, if your partner is breastfeeding, keep her company.

2. Support her feeding choices: For some women, breastfeeding comes naturally; for others, it is a struggle from the first attempt. Whatever your partner chooses to do with regards to feeding, support her choice and back her up in front of others.

3. Help around the house: If you haven’t been a housework helper in the past, now is the time to change that, even if it is until your partner is feeling like her old self again.  Doing the shopping, vacuuming the floor and preparing meals are huge contributions at this point in time.

4. Change diapers: Come on, it’s not that hard! Imagine if you were left to change every single diaper. Taking a break from it is a delight so if you can afford your partner that opportunity now and then, she’ll adore you.

5. Screen visitors: A new baby does not mean a free-for-all on visiting hours. Your partner needs rest and your baby needs to adjust to a routine. Discourage spontaneous drop-ins and late-stayers with as much respect and poise as possible. Let them know they are more than welcome at a particular time and ‘for an hour or so’ until everyone’s settled.

6. Be the hero: Defend her to others and be her hero as much as possible. This will ensure that life returns to normal peacefulness sooner rather than later.

7. Try to be home on time: Work is vital to keep the income flowing in, but right now, you also need to concentrate on that work/life balance. Make every effort to be home on time until a routine is established.

8. Get to know your beautiful child: You have a new son or daughter. The responsibility can seem overwhelming but don’t forget to enjoy him or her. Every day is a precious gift so spend time getting to know your little one.  Play, talk, feed, watch … they change very quickly, and you won’t want to miss out.

9. Count your blessings: Look around you. You have a partner who has given you the gift of a son or daughter and you yourself have helped to create a brand new life. So be thankful for what you have and encourage your family to feel that way as well.

Be the dad you want to be and enjoy your family and revel in how it makes you feel. One day you may want to create another little addition so pave the way now for a comfortable, secure relationship by being a great dad today.