Becoming a father is a life-altering experience. Not only will you find that your day-to-day experiences change, but you will become aware of a whole new well of emotions that you never had before. Patience, compassion and love – all of these feelings will center around the little bundle of joy that has entered your life.
Now that you are about to be a father you will probably be thinking a lot about just what type of dad you are going to be. Are you going to leap up delightedly for midnight feedings? Or perhaps you want to arrive home and scoop up your bouncing baby for a an hour or two of solid dad time.
Many years ago the dad’s role was to make money, come home and put up their feet while mom took care of the child rearing. Nowadays dads are lucky to have a more involved role with the raising of children, and they can do anything from diapers to baths, feedings and fun time. From the moment baby is born a father has one of the most important jobs in the world – to be a steady, positive role model in their child’s life. It’s a big job, but you can do it.
Right now you are probably feeling many things: anxiety, fear, elation, and worry. Just relax, you will do fine. In the meantime there are tons of resources to help you figure out how to be a dad.
Men And Pregnancy
Becoming a good father starts during the pregnancy by being there for your partner. Whenever possible (if she agrees) attend doctor’s or midwive’s appointments, prenatal classes and any other appointment where you can learn about your new addition and all the fun things that are going to happen.
During the pregnancy take time to bond with your unborn baby. You can just talk to him, read books or even sing songs. When the baby is moving ask your partner if you can feel, this is a good time to talk because you know that your baby is awake and listening.
Get involved with your partner’s birth plan so you know exactly what is expected of you. Remember that this is your birth too, so help wherever you can. Learn how to massage for pain relief, and what positions are best to help labor progress.
Participation in the birth process is a relatively new thing, as back in the 1960’s only about 5% of men were actually present for the birth of their children. These days men are encouraged to attend the birth in order to support their partner as well as be there for the first moments of their baby’s life.
For men getting ready to attend a birth it is important to know what is going to happen, and how to help. Attending prenatal classes will get you prepared, but it is also a good idea to consult with a male friend who has witnessed a birth to get the details.
It is definitely a plus if you can take some time off for your baby’s first few days home. This allows you to fully commit to the bonding process with your baby, as well as helping mom get some much-needed rest.
While you may feel like all thumb around your baby, do not worry as he won’t notice. Remember that you are both learning how to be around each other and it will take some getting used to. The bonding process is not hard, all you need to do is talk to, cuddle and spend time with your baby. Take him on walks, give him baths or just lie on the bed and tell him about all the cool things you’re going to do.
When you do end up going back to work, set aside time each day to connect with your baby. Whether you take over the bedtime routine or just introduce him to the evening sports show time spent together is the key.
The Next Step
You are going to be a father, there is no turning back. Immerse yourself in the pregnancy and upcoming birth, as the more involved you get the more fun you will have. Read books, watch shows and help your partner with the preparations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or admit that you don’t know what you are doing. And enjoy it, since they are only babies once.