With all the fussing a mom-to-be gets from family, friends and doctors, dad can feel a bit like a spare part. Involving him in your pregnancy from the outset will not only help take the pressure off you, but strengthen your relationship and set him up for better bonding once your baby arrives.
“Fathers who are involved from the very beginning are also more aware of the normal process of labour and more willing to accept bodily and emotional changes,” says Dr Diana du Plessis, an independent midwifery consultant and researcher in Gauteng.
1. Break the news together
If you can’t go around, call each set of parents and pass the phone between you or set up a conference call. Then, when sharing the news online, tag him on Facebook. There are great ideas there, like posting a picture of you together with a message ‘We’re having a baby’, or cutting a cake with the inside pink or blue.
2. Schedule doctor’s appointments to fit his diary
Hearing that little heartbeat with you or seeing that ultrasound scan can help the paternal feelings kick in, says Du Plessis. “If he can’t be there, take selfies!”
3. Let him have some fun
Consider hinting to his friends that they throw him a ‘Dadchelor’ party when your friends throw your baby shower. The guys can braai together, and watch dad movies (Junior or Daddy Day Care), or simply the sports channel. Else hint to your best friend that you fancy a ‘couples shower’, so they invite both his friends and yours. “Just remember, dads don’t appreciate being made fun of and dressed up,” says Du Plessis.
4. Involve him in the nursery decoration
Run your top choices past him once you’ve narrowed your options for a theme, wall colours and curtain patterns. Then invite him to shop with you for major items like baby furniture. Don’t be offended if he declines – he’ll appreciate having been asked. “Don’t nag him to get things done,” says Du Plessis. “Rather organise a fun-filled afternoon with some of his friends to assist him.”
5. Take childbirth and parenting classes together
The more he knows what to expect, the more involved and confident he will feel, and the better he will be able to help out with anything from counting contractions to giving foot rubs, and later helping in practical ways with baby baths and changes.
6. Encourage him to talk to the baby
Your baby is able to hear from about 23 weeks, and talking to him or her can add to dad’s anticipation, and help the baby feel attached to him from birth.
When baby starts moving (around week 14 to 25), put dad's hand on your bump often to feel baby. “If he claims the baby moves or calms down when hearing his voice, let him believe it,” says Du Plessis. “It might actually be true.”
7. Get him engaged in picking names
Discuss your favourite names, and if you disagree, aim for a compromise, perhaps using some names as second names – or saving them for baby No 2.
How Clicks Clinics can help you
All Clicks Clinics offer a pregnancy consultation which includes a blood pressure test, a measurement of your BMI and advice on pregnancy-related issues.
Don't hesitate to make an appointment at a Clicks Clinic: call 0860 254 257 or book online at Clicks Clinics online.
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