Becoming a father is often quoted as the single most emotional moment in a man’s life. It’s a combination of relief, of safely welcoming a newborn into the world and, the overwhelming realisation that you’re responsible for this little life.
Su-Marie Annandale from baby brand Krayons says that often the outpouring of emotion and joy means a lot of dads have no idea what to do next. “The experience is so all-consuming, that dads just don’t know what their role is.” Annandale has the following suggestions for new dads, to keep them involved and helpful:
Love and affirmation
Your primary role is to make sure your partner feels loved and secure in the fact that she’s doing an incredible job. Whether its surgery or natural child-birth, the experience can be traumatic, draining and extremely emotional. Take the time to love your partner, kiss her whenever possible and remind her how awesome she is.
Capture the moment
It’s your job to find someone in the child-birth suite to take the pictures. You need to be in the moment with your wife, so you can’t be messing about with a camera. Ask a nurse or the paediatrician to take a few snaps for you.
Once that baby pops out it’s your role to protect him or her. Make sure you’re with the little bundle for every second – when she’s weighed, measured and checked out. Don’t leave her side for a second – you’re in charge of making sure she’s kept happy and safe.
Once the baby is born and seen to, your partner will likely be transferred back to the ward. Help to make sure she’s set-up in the ward. She’ll be uncomfortable and unable to move.
Make sure she has water close-by, her mobile phone, if she needs it as well as the buzzer to alert nursing staff. If the baby is in good health, she’ll be brought to the room for skin-on-skin time with her parents.
Make sure your partner has everything she needs to adequately care for your newborn – set up a little changing station in the ward, or at the very least – ensure that the nappies and bath products are placed on the bottom shelf of the bassinet.
Once the initial excitement and emotion has died down, take the time to let your friends and family know that your bundle has arrived. You have lots of people waiting with baited breath to hear about the safe arrival of your little one, and the healthy state of your partner.
Be sure to include weight, gender and the child’s name – if you have one.