A Pre-Baby To Do List for Dads!
Pack the hospital bag and plan the route to the hospital:
Lynn Walcott, RM, of the Association of Radical Midwives suggests the dad “packs the hospital bag as he will be the one following the birth who will have to find the baby clothes etc when the midwife asks for them”.
This leads on to her next point of advice: “get a lesson in clothing and equipment as when asked for a vest new fathers often hold up any item of clothing with a hopeful look”.
Again, you can ask your midwife for a comprehensive list of items to pack for both Mom and tot.
She also advised the father find out where the registrar’s office is as, if married, the dad is often the one packed off to name the baby; and to programme all emergency/hospital/midwife numbers into your cell phone, and collecting together all the family numbers for after the birth is also a good idea.
Learn to fit the car seat (correctly!):
One of the most important pieces of equipment you will invest in is the car seat. According to US Department of Transportation information “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children of every age” and “an average of 6 children 0-14 years old were killed and 732 were injured every day in motor vehicle crashes”.
Before buying the car seat it is also important to make sure you have bought the right make for the model and your car/s and NEVER buy a car seat second-hand.
Organise paternity/family leave:
Paternity leave is the time a father takes off work after the birth or adoption of a child. Ask your company’s human resource department what the company policy is, although under the FMLA (family and medical leave act) most companies are required by federal law to allow employees (both male and female) 12 weeks unpaid leave a year after the birth of a baby or adoption of a child, to care for seriously ill family members or recover from their own serious health conditions.
Mick Bell father to Jack, 8 months says “I took three days off for Jack’s birth. As he was our first child his mother didn’t really have any experience to rely on so she really needed me around”. He goes on to say ” it would have been too hard on Sally if she did not have my back-up for this period”.
Read all your partner’s baby books:
Knowing and understanding what your partner is going through will help you to feel less alienated from the pregnancy as well as somewhat prepare you for what lies ahead. “On the day of Jack’s birth I think I finally realised that I was totally unprepared. A lot can be said for reading a couple of those “Baby” books. I learned how to treat nappy rash and what to do when the baby is in pain from teething” says Mick Bell, 29, father to Jack, 8 months.
Take time out:
Mick goes on to say “the most important thing a father can do before the baby arrives is to do all the things you love doing as often as you can: meet up with friends, go surfing, fishing, play golf- do them now because once the little one arrives these things don’t happen very often.
Sort out your finances:
Having a baby is a costly business, and don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise. There are several things to consider before the birth of your baby including:
- Loss of income if the mother stays at home after the baby is born or child minder’s pay if she goes back to work.
- Loans: talk to your bank or financial adviser who will advise you on the best loan suited to you and your circumstances.
- Understand your tax credits – again, speak to your accountant or financial adviser and they will steer you in the right direction.
- Draw up a budget and stick to it!