Throughout the journey of pregnancy, a dad’s supporting role is very important – especially in the early days. Here’s how to be there for your other half and your gorgeous new baby.
Dad’s role during labour
- Have the antenatal ward phone number stored on your phone, ready for when your partner goes into labour. Check the car’s tank is full (or at least, half full) and that you know every available options to reach your hospital (just in case one route isn’t available at the time of labour). Stay calm and in control.
- Keep your phone (or camera) fully charged, so you can take photos once the baby arrives (and maybe one or two shots of the bump beforehand to remind you both how big it was!).
- Be on standby with your hand (for squeezing) and words of support.
- Save all the important numbers in your phone and have enough credit to spread the good news once your baby’s born. Facebook and Twitter are also great ways to share the news quickly.
Dad’s role in the hospital
- First-time mums will appreciate dad sticking around as much as possible in hospital. Stay within easy reach so you can hold the baby when your partner needs to use the toilet, a shower or a nap.
- Bring in spare clothes if your other half is staying in for a few days (and your house is far from the hospital).
- If this isn’t your first baby, have a gift from the new baby for each of your older children when they first visit to prevent any jealousy.
- Take in sandwiches, fruit, biscuits and drinks for your partner as a nice change from hospital food. Most times, the food served in hospitals are not that “great”.
- Be her rock – the calm
Dad’s role back home
- Make sure the house is clean, tidy, warm and welcoming. The first few weeks with a new baby are a whirlwind.
- Be thoughtful, gentle and kind: your partner may not be feeling too great – physically nor emotionally – so she won’t want you getting moody too.
- Watch out for the baby blues around three days after the birth. Your partner may feel emotional. Don’t worry – this only lasts a few days and isn’t postnatal depression, but if she’s still feeling low in a month, encourage her to speak to her midwife.
- Help out in practical ways: go to the supermarket, clean the house or bring her favourite snack/food while she feeds the baby.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – a new baby brings lots of changes. One in 10 men* experiences postnatal depression – speak to your GP if you’re worried.