Tools and Tips for Dads
Tools and tips for dads, straight from the dads themselves. What it’s like to be a dad? What do dads need to do during the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period?
Tools for dads:
Dads need a safe place to discuss fatherhood with their peers. It gives them a place to lean on each other and learn how to navigate parenthood. Consider it an accountability circle. Together men can support one another and help when things get tough.
Fathers often take on the burden of holding everything together and making sure everyone is ok. That can lead to them being seen as strong and silent. Yet underneath that strength and silence, there may be churning thoughts, confusion, and a scared person. A lack of communication between the couple can lead to feelings of distance or separation. Share your thoughts, needs, and fears. You are in this together.
For some partners pregnancy, birth, and recovery can trigger feelings of trauma or grief. Oftentimes, these events have hidden layers that are suddenly exposed. Society shows us through mass media that you should be strong and silent. Yet holding onto that trauma and grief can cause stress for you, your partnership, and your child. Dads often need time and resources to process this grief in their own way. Partners give your guy some space. Let him process at his own pace. And dads, sharing some of your process or grief with your partner helps them feel connected to you.
Education is very important to demystify the unknown. Learning how to navigate pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period ahead of time sets that dad up for success. Childbirth classes, CPR classes, or even peer support give dads the tools for the job.
Tips for dads:
Dads, is your partner breastfeeding or chestfeeding? Consider taking a breastfeeding class with them to learn about the process. Once you are at home, create safe spaces for feedings. Offer them water and a snack. Have the phone, a charger, and burp cloth close at hand. Consider being the expert diaper changer. Also, infant massage and bath time can be your special time with the baby! Most importantly just be present and able to help as needed.
Discuss your sleep needs and create a plan for everyone to get the sleep they need. Some people are night owls and others are morning larks. Some are better nappers than others. Together create a plan that is right for you even if that includes a night doula or sleep consultant.
Providing support for another person while going through a life-changing event takes grit. Discussing practical ways to help can really set a dad up for success. Being a good listener and tending to some of the seeming smaller tasks feels like big support to your partner.