Opinion: Tips for new dads this Father’s Day
Centuries of men before you have been bewildered by the thought of being a father. There’s no simple app for being a dad. But the good news is, you will figure it out.
You may be asking yourself:
• How will I pay for things our baby will need?
• What’s it take to be a good dad?
• What can I do to help my partner?
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These are common questions. And while we can’t answer them all, we suggest that you get informed and be involved to help your partner have a healthy pregnancy.
Go with your partner to her health care provider appointments. Both of your medical histories will help in having a healthy pregnancy.
Learn as much as you can about pregnancy and childbirth. Go to childbirth education classes together. Visit http://www.marchofdimes.org for reliable information.
Communicate with your partner; help plan for the baby. Figure out your finances; decide where your baby will sleep; talk about what you want during the birth of your baby; plan for childcare.
Helping your partner stay healthy during pregnancy is also important.
• Incorporate healthy foods into your diets.
• Smoking isn’t good for you, your partner or your baby. Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have babies born too small and too soon. Second hand smoke is harmful, too. If one or both of you smoke, now is a great time to quit.
• Use the buddy system to stay away from alcohol, marijuana and other drugs that can cause birth problems.
• Help her avoid dangerous household products, such as paint, solvents and pesticides. Don’t let your partner empty the cat litter box.
• Encourage your partner to exercise if her health care provider approves it.
• Help your partner to rest and lower her stress by helping out around the house. Talking together about your hopes and plans can lower stress.
Your partner’s sexual desire during pregnancy may change as well. Talk with each other to determine what is best for both of you. As long as your health care provider says sex is safe, enjoy.
Support your partner’s decision to breastfeed. Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Your attitude is the most important factor in whether or not your partner begins and continues to breast feed.
Each pregnancy is unique. It generally takes about six weeks after birth for couples to adjust to their new life. Be patient – these changes take some getting used to for both of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Becoming a father is life-changing, and now is your chance to be a really great dad.
Happy Father’s Day from the March of Dimes!
The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Scott D. Matthews, MSW, MHA, is the Director of Program Services for the March of Dimes Colorado/Wyoming Chapter.
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