For many dads, fatherhood begins when the baby is born, but you can get involved during the pregnancy. Mats Berggren, an expert on this subject, offers dads-to-be five key tips.
Pregnancy for dads is an opportunity to reflect on what kind of dad they would like to be. In many cases, these notions are often formed in childhood. Your dad might be your role model or perhaps the antithesis of who you hope to become.
1. Choose to be a parent. The parent who is not pregnant, giving birth or nursing can easily feel excluded. It can also be easy to surrender primary responsibility to the mother. Nothing just “happens”, particularly in relationships. Ultimately, the choice is mine. Do I want to be included or excluded?
2. Consider what paternity leave is worth, not just what it costs. Usually, among all of the parameters included in the formula, the family’s finances are the most important. Who earns the most and who should stay at home? It’s said that we dads listen to what our partners/wives want and then we check with our bosses. If there’s anything left over, we take it. Maybe it’s time to ask, “What do I want?”
3. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Pregnancy for dads can simply mean taking the time to talk to your dad or friends who have children. Sure, you can read books and search for information online, but how does this compare to a good old conversation? Friends who already have children are sitting on invaluable experience. Good advice and knowledge can offer you good insight.
4. Talk to your partner about expectations. It is easy to have expectations without actually having the discussion, for example assuming things from your own childhood or that you have thought about yourself. Pregnancy for dads is a time to share your own vision of the future while at the same time listening to your partner.
5. Bonds are formed in many different ways. There are few things more frustrating than feeling that you are not good enough. You can’t nurse. Do what you can, instead. Create a bond that suits your unique way of being a dad, and start with your baby’s need for care, sleep and body contact. Bonds are formed in many different ways, for example by carrying a well-fed baby (so don’t walk around carrying a hungry baby).