So you’re going to be a father. Congratulations! This is a huge step in your adult life. It’s something to celebrate and be excited about, but it’s also a major responsibility. Many new fathers wonder where to start. Pregnancy tips are everywhere for moms, but what about dad? What does it take to be a good father?
The answer to that question would take much more than an article to cover. However, we’ve pulled together this beginner’s guide to help start you on your journey into fatherhood on the right foot! There are hundreds of resources out there to help you, including some of our own. Below, we’ve linked some books, podcasts, and online forums to help you get started.
We organized some of our favorite pregnancy tips for dad by developmental stage for easier navigation. For instance, if you already have a newborn, you may want to head straight to that section. But, if you’re planning on having more than one, it never hurts to study up! Knowledge is power, after all.
Now, take a deep breath and read through the article. Remember, reading this article in the first place means you want to be a good father and are taking steps to learn, which is more than half the equation. You got this, dad!
Pregnancy Tips for Dad
1. Get Involved Early and Stay Involved
This may seem like an obvious tip, but if we know one thing, it’s that good dads love to point out the obvious! Pregnancy is the most medically significant undertaking your partner can go through. Her body, hormones, and emotions will all be affected. It’s your job to be there and take care of her, so that she can focus on a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Attend doctor’s appointments with your partner. Get involved with shopping for the baby and decorating their room. Have discussions about your partner’s birthing plan and how you want to raise your child.
The more involved you are from the early stages of pregnancy, the more prepared you’ll feel when you get to hold your new baby. Following these pregnancy tips, especially for dad, will get you off on the right foot.
2. Start Bonding with Your Baby Now
Did you know that the baby can hear your voice and distinguish between sounds in the third trimester? When babies are born, they can recognize voices and sounds they often heard while in the womb.
Start talking to that baby! Read books, sing songs, or just recite baseball statistics—whatever feels comfortable and natural. You may feel silly at first, but talking to your baby now will help cement your bond later. They’ll recognize your voice, feel safer with you, and fall asleep faster in your arms (nap hack).
3. Final Pregnancy Tips for Dad: Have a B-Day Plan
Do you ever notice how dads seem to always have pocket knives and flashlights at the ready? That’s because good dads are always prepared, like Boy Scouts, and this starts long before the baby is born.
Make sure you have a grab bag ready to go and a solid understanding of your partner’s birthing plan. Even if you’re planning on a home birth, have a hospital bag ready and gas in the tank in case something goes wrong.
Books on Pregnancy Tips for Dads
Post-Pregnancy: Newborn Tips for Dad
1. Don’t Freak Out
Now, there’s a baby in the house. You read all the books, had all the conversations, and made it through labor, but you still have no idea what to do! This is normal; every new parent experiences anxiety about whether they’re doing things the right way.
Just remember: be gentle, follow medical advice, and take as many deep breaths as you need. Your baby will be fine. The first few weeks are a lot of crying, eating, and sleeping. Support your partner, do your share, and, above all, don’t freak out!
2. Offer Support by Caregiving
While only the mother can handle some aspects of life with a newborn—breastfeeding, for instance—there are still plenty you can do as a new father to help. Your partner is also recovering from major bodily trauma, and if she had a c-section, she’s also recovering from major surgery. Changing diapers, doing dishes, making meals, cleaning up, and taking care of the older kids if you have them are all ways to help her feel loved and supported.
Remember to check in emotionally too. Postpartum hormones can be difficult to deal with and may lead to postpartum depression. Check in with your partner and ask them about their feelings and emotions. Take this time to bond over your fears, hopes, and observations.
Post-Pregnancy: Newborn Reading Recs for Dad
Post-Pregnancy: Toddlerhood Tips for Dad
1. Be Present as Much as Possible
In many ways, having a baby is easier than having a child. For one, a baby will not run away from you, color on the walls, or sass back! But having a toddler is as fun as it is hectic. Learning how to walk and talk are major milestones, ones you want to be there for.
The time will fly by, and before you know it, your kiddo will go to school and become their own person. Contribute to the person they’re going to be by spending as much time as possible with them. Life is busy, but this is your chance to be there for them.
2. Give Them Space to Learn
This can be challenging, but it’s important to allow your children to do challenging things safely and carefully. For example, when you learned to walk, you fell repeatedly; it’s how we learn. Instead of doing things for them, demonstrate the correct way, and then let them follow in your footsteps.
Obviously, you should step in if there’s danger, like a hot stove or a pool nearby. Otherwise, let them try to figure it out until they ask for help.
Good Reads for Toddler Dads
The Best OBGYN in Little Rock
For more fathering and pregnancy tips for dads, check out our New Dad’s Checklist. It answers frequently asked questions and helps ensure you have everything lined up for when your little bundle of joy arrives!
If you’re looking for an OBGYN in Little Rock for your partner, contact The Woman’s Clinic to schedule an appointment today.