Children with dads who are involved in their upbringing tend to do better socially, emotionally, and academically than kids with uninvolved fathers. Research also shows kids with involved dads tend to be more confident.
Talk, read, and sing to your baby-to-be.
Babies can hear during the second trimester of pregnancy and recognise voices in the third trimester — including yours!
Attend doctor’s visits as much as you can.
During Ob/Gyn checkups, you will be able to see your baby’s growth and development — including his heartbeat. These opportunities to track your baby’s development help you both begin to feel connected to your little one even before his birthday.
Try a class for expectant parents.
Classes will help you prep for parenting (diaper changing, feeding, keeping baby healthy and safe), as well as cover strategies for how to co-parent with Mom.
Support healthy habits.
Your encouragement helps mum eat the right foods and avoid smoking and drinking during pregnancy. For example, research shows that your support makes it easier for Mum to begin and continue breastfeeding.
Be there for labour and delivery.
Both mums and dads naturally worry about the labour and delivery process. Some dads say they worry about doing the wrong thing in the delivery room, seeing their partner in pain, or being left out of important decisions. But they show up in big numbers, and most are glad that they did.
Mums report that having their partners in the delivery room reduces their anxiety and pain. And many dads find that meeting their baby right after birth is an experience that changes them forever — and helps them bond with their babies from those first seconds.
Dads who play an active role during pregnancy lower mums’ stress levels. And lower stress means a healthier environment for your growing baby.
Continue the conversation.
You’ve been talking, reading, and singing to your baby for months. Now enjoy seeing her responses for the first time!
Figure out how to share responsibility for the baby.
New dads can do almost everything new mums can do: Change diapers, give baths, share stories, and take your turn walking and soothing when the baby is crying. If your partner is breastfeeding, you can participate by bringing the baby to her, or burping him when he’s done. Sharing these responsibilities right from the start gives you a chance to get to know your baby and builds a strong foundation for your relationship with him.
Pay attention to your baby’s cues.
Over time, babies develop their own ways of telling you what they need — through a particular cry, look, or movement. By spending time caring for and playing with your baby, you’ll start to decode her cues.
Originally published at Zero to Three. Photo by Yan Krukau.