Firstly, congratulations on your new baby! It is a piece of awesome news to hear that you are going to have a new addition to your family. You are going to have a lot of things to be prepared for or have to be done before the baby comes out. I’m going to share with you the things that I needed to have been prepared for or had to have been done before the baby comes out.
Some of these things that I am about to mention may have been stuff you knew already or even just common sense. If most of the things that I list are common sense, then that’s good! You were more prepared than I was when I was in your situation.
Get Some Pre-Baby Training!
One of the most important things that new parents, especially dad’s overlook are the importance of parenting classes. Too many dads, myself included for some topics, feel like they have the concept down and/or rely on their fatherly instincts to help them in their time in need. (This fatherly instinct really doesn’t help much in terms of caring for the baby except for protection purposes)
In the United States, I have done some research and I found a list of approved educational networks and organizations for each state that you can look into attending. The comprehensive list can be found from NPEN (National Parenting Education Network)
In Canada, there are independent organizations that run and host these parenting classes. It is best to do a local Google search to look for any specific class offerings and dates. For example, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, there is a program called the Manitoba Parent Zone, they are the Government of Manitoba’s long-term. cross-departmental strategy for putting children and families first. They have developed a strong network of supports and strategies for children, youth, and families to help them confidently grow.
The examples that I listed above are only a select few of the programs that are offered within the United States and Canada. I believe that every single country has their local parenting support network that you can reach out for, for your parenting related questions. And if your country doesn’t, there is a wide variety of parental educational information all across the web, like my website, Mr. Involved parenting information for dad’s.
So there is no excuse for you not to be well educated as a dad for your upcoming baby.
Home And Car
You may have heard a lot of friendly advice from other parents about how you can be a more prepared parent before the baby comes out. Here were some of the things that I was told:
- Every single table corner must be covered and protected,
- All of the unsafe sharp objects must be put away,
- Make sure the access to the stairs are gated or protected,
- Secure anything that can move (eg. TV’s, shelves, house and cabinet doors) so that they won’t move or open by accident.
- Clean your car before the baby comes out because the pregnancy nesting period is coming soon or already here,
- Get some more sleep now because once the baby comes out, you are getting none. (Somewhat true, you won’t get one nice long sleep, you are going to get multiple broken up chunks of sleep.)
Those are definitely advice that I would pass onto new parents. But here are some additional ones that I have encountered through my personal experience:
- Be prepared right now to eat something different every day/meal, unless you are going to be inconsiderate to your pregnant wife and future child.
- Eat the same thing as what your wife eats, she’s going through a HUGE amount of body changes to bring a new life, that both of you created, into this world. It is only fair that as a family, you should join in the family fun.
- You can think of it this way, it’s more fun to try something new all the time, rather than eating the same rotational set of meals.
- If you are absolutely ready to be an awesome dad, wake up at the same time at night as your wife during pregnancy, my wife always woke up at around 3-4 AM in the morning, as that was when the baby was the most active. It was hard at first, I admit, but it was fun to feel the baby’s movement cause I could actually see the happiness in my wife seeing the effort that I was putting in to wake up with her. That really increased the family’s bond.
- Look at how awesome this husband is for his pregnant wife!
- Your wife may crave for something that sounds strange to both her and you, get use to it. It’s definitely going to happen.
- Better get your energy and stamina up now! Once her pregnancy hits the third trimester (or earlier), she may have this feeling of nesting. This is when she has the urge to do a huge house cleanup, modification, baby-proofing, and beautification before the baby arrives. She will have a lot of ambitions and ideas (all thanks to PInterest) and you will be the one to be executing on them.
- Of course, I get that you will refuse to do this or your pregnant wife will be the one to be executing the cleaning and moving, but do remember that any wrong move or exposure to toxic chemicals can cause a miscarriage and stillbirth.
- Learn to find fast ways to get yourself into 100% alertness after you were abruptly waken up from your sleep. I had to do a cold face wash for the first to wake myself up.
- Install your baby car seat ahead of time, get familiar with how to strap in your baby into the car seat and also how to attach the car seat to the car base. We both know that you won’t have enough brain processing energy to figure out how to strap your baby in and put the car seat in fast, effectively, and without waking up for your baby while he/she is sleeping.
- Be sure to get your hospital luggage well in advance before the baby’s expected delivery date. Why? Because your baby might be one week early. What if your baby was a pre-term and needed to be delivered 4 weeks prior to the expected delivery date? There is a huge list of things you need to be prepared, your wife will definitely have that list already set, now you just need to help pack it.
Work And Finances
When it comes to work and finances, by having one or both of the parents take time off because they need to deliver the baby, it will definitely impact the household finances. Luckily, there are different benefits programs that you can take advantage
In the United States, some states have maternity leave for pregnant mothers to be able to take time paid or unpaid time off before and/or after giving birth to the child. Paternity on the other hand, used by fathers, don’t get this benefit paid in most states. Determine what time is good for you, as dad’s, to take time off to align with your baby’s expected delivery date.
In Canada, on the other hand, the Government of Canada’s Employment Insurance program allows both mother’s and father’s to take paid time off work, based of certain conditions and requirements at the time of the application. You can read more information about it through the Government of Canada’s Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits page.
Here is an important reminder for you, when both you are your wife are going on your leave, maternal and parental, you only get a percentage of your current monthly income. So make sure you understand how much is the monthly income and how long you can get this benefit for and budget accordingly for that period. I was able to get 55% of my monthly income for 32 weeks, I was very glad I was able to spend 100% of my time at least the first 8 months of her life before I had to return to work.
After getting the income management part out of the way, there is now the aspect of expenses. You will definitely have to look at that budget again to account for additional expenses for your pregnant wife and the baby. The following are some of the items to expect as expenses that I have experienced:
- Potential food cravings that happen during pregnancy that require you to buy from restaurants or buy the ingredients to make yourself,
- Pregnancy clothing to fit that baby belly during warm and/or cold seasons,
- Additional heating or cooling electrical expense,
- Coffee expenses (for yourself to stay awake and sane),
- All of those baby-proofing your house items,
- Extra gas for your vehicle from driving around everywhere to satisfy those food cravings from your wife or buying stuff,
- The expenses for the Baby Shower.
You might be thinking that THAT is a lot of extra expenses, but look at it this way, when your pregnant wife is going through her nesting period and purging anything and everything. Anything that is in relatively good condition can be sold onto the used marketplace and you can recoup some of the cost back.
Now let’s talk about the big topic!
“The water has broke!”
When I heard that, there was a lot going through my head, but the biggest thing that I knew was to be calm and safety get my wife to the hospital to prepare for labor. But in the back of my mind, I was always going through the “To Bring To The Hospital” checklist to make sure we had everything we needed.
As long as your wife is okay with the idea of you going into the delivery room with her, you should definitely take up the chance to be physically in there to support her through this monumental stage in her life. She stuck with growing the baby both of you created, you should at least do your part to stick with her through thick and thin (as per your marriage vows).
I have heard of cases where the dad refused to take part of any of the child birthing process because they were too “scared” or it affects/hurts their pride/masculinity to be in the delivery room. I personally find that to be quite dumb and couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that. For the men that we’re too scared, are you scared due to a medical condition like Hemophobia (an extremely irrational fear of blood) or just because you said you can’t? If it’s due to a medical condition, then absolutely that is fine to be excused from taking part, but, and I do mean BUT, if it is the latter one, then you are going to be struggling throughout this parenting journey.
This is going to be a little bit of a rant on my part about how some soon-to-be dad’s still don’t get that their family should come first, not their masculinity.
Now if you couldn’t be in the delivery room, with your very pregnant and in immense pain wife, because it affects/hurts your pride/masculinity, then I feel that you will need to wake up from whatever dream that you are still in and understand that if you can’t even handle being with your wife through thick and thin, don’t expect them to be there for you then. You were already distant with your wife and child in their time of need, what reason do they need to do the same for you in the future? You think they are going to stay with you because you are the father or you are the breadwinner of the family? Most families are dual-income earners now and the wife can be fully self-sufficient in the family. So technically, you can be replaced if you don’t meet up to their revised standards, this is call divorce.
Now that I’m done ranting, I would like to share with you my experience when it was time for my wife to give birth. I was in the hospital with her throughout the entire time we were there. From the waiting room area to the delivery area, even the surgery delivery room for an emergency cesarean birth, I spent that entire journey and process beside my wife, she knew that I am always there to be her physical and emotional support. Did she want something? I got it. She was panicking and didn’t know what decision was the best for us as a family? I was the calm one analytically determining what that best decision was. As my wife says, I was the pillar that she needed at that moment in time. And 2 years later, she still loves me for that.
After The Birth – It’s Your Turn Now, Dad!
Yep! Now it really is your turn. Now that the baby is actually out, it’s time to see how much you got from your pre-baby education and training. Don’t worry, your wife will always be there to strictly make sure that you are taking excellent care of the baby.