Dad's Guide to Baby's First Year For Dummies
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Pregnancy looks easy when it’s happening to someone else. As a man, you don’t have to endure what’s going on in a pregnant woman’s body 24/7 — and there’s a lot going on. Helping in any way you can is greatly appreciated.

Take care of your partner

Growing a baby is hard work and takes quite a physical toll on a woman’s body. Sure, some women climb mountains and run marathons up to the day they give birth, but those are exceptions rather than your average woman’s pregnancy experience. For starters, morning sickness can be debilitating, and for some women the morning sickness never eases until the pregnancy is over.

The tiredness and carrying around all that blood, fluid, and an extra person puts all sorts of strains on the female body. Look after your partner 24/7 if need be, especially if she’s having a difficult pregnancy, and do all you can to make life easier for her. It may mean looking after the household for nine months all by yourself, and for sure you’ll get sick of it. But let’s face it — would you prefer to squeeze a baby out of your body? So, man up and do whatever needs doing in the house.

Get on the wagon

Your partner has to stay off alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, blue cheese, seafood, and a whole lot of other stuff to keep that baby in there safe and sound. Seeing you downing a pint of beer and enough salami to sink a small ship could be enough to send her over the edge. Staying off alcohol and cigarettes, not to mention anything heavier you may be into, and eating what she can eat is not only better for you, but it sets up a precedent for how you intend to live as a father.

Give your partner some “me” time every now and then

The prospect of becoming a mother, while really exciting for your partner, is also a daunting one, both mentally and physically. For most mothers, the first few months after birth end up being a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week job. Even though they traded in their old life of meetings, schedules, work commitments, and deadlines that they may have no sentimental attachment to, for the care of a tiny, helpless baby whom they love, the role can be overwhelming.

Over the next few years — perhaps until your child has left home — your partner’s always going to have one eye on what she’s doing and one eye on your child. So in the months before this all kicks off, let her have some time that’s just for her.

Be there for the medical stuff

Go along to all the medical appointments, scans, and meetings with your midwife or obstetrician. Your partner will want you to be there to share in it. The first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat through the Doppler or see the faint shadows of your baby moving and bouncing around in your partner’s belly during an ultrasound scan, you’ll be glad you came along.

Although you’re not carrying the baby right now, that tiny growing thing in there is your child too. Your place is to know about how well he’s developing, any potential health issues, and what options you as a couple have for welcoming your child into the world.

Get with the program

Start getting some hands-on practice with essential baby knowledge and skills. Moms-to-be love to see their partners getting excited about their new life as parents, and what better way to show it than to throw yourself into the preparations? There’s so much to learn about looking after a newborn baby and the months after that, so why not find out all you can about it?

Ask your midwife or obstetrician about prenatal classes in your area and discuss which one you think would suit you and your partner best. Make it a priority to never miss a class, even if there’s work to be done at the office or you’ve been invited to drinks after work. Let’s face it; the office and your work will be there for a long time. Preparing for your first child happens only once in your life.

Go on a babymoon

As a couple, now is the perfect time to take a relaxing and indulgent holiday somewhere. Don’t choose a 10-mile hike in the mountains. Someplace where lounge chairs and swimming pools are more common than office buildings, with great restaurants and shops to browse. Somewhere the two of you can just hang out, sleep late, read books, and do whatever you want when you want.

Check with your healthcare provider before heading off to parts unknown. She may suggest not traveling for a certain number of weeks before your partner’s due date or to certain parts of the world.

Be excited about becoming a dad

Finding out you’re going to be a dad is a little scary. You may have some reservations because of your own childhood, your financial situation, or the responsibility you’re going to have. Your partner may also share some of those worries and concerns, but burying your head in the sand and pretending the baby’s not going to arrive won’t help.

Even if the impending change of lifestyle takes a while to sink in, you can definitely make the pregnancy experience more enjoyable for your partner if you show a bit of excitement about becoming a dad. Showing your partner that you’re excited will get her excited and happy about becoming a mom. You want her to be happy and excited.


In a few months when the baby is born, you’ll be celebrating a new person’s presence in your life. Not just any new person, but the person who is on this Earth because of you. That’s pretty special! But it does come with a price — temporary sleep deprivation and a restricted social life.

So make the most of your quiet nights and unlimited access to the outside world now! Take your partner out for a posh dinner somewhere fancy, visit a special place together — do whatever spins your wheels as a couple.

Record that beautiful belly

In our great-grandmothers’ and grandmothers’ days, having a whole litter of children was common, and the pregnant belly was hidden away as if it were some kind of obscenity. These days, though, it’s rare to have more than five or six children, and more usual for a woman to have one to three children in her lifetime.

Celebrating the physical changes that take place during pregnancy, such as the voluptuous new shape of a pregnant belly and those plus-sized breasts that you gotta love, is now more usual. Most pregnant women, while despising the weight they put on, love their bellies, so get out your camera from week one and get snapping.

Keep telling your partner how beautiful she is

For many women, the hardest part of pregnancy is near the due date. Your partner may be having a difficult time getting comfortable at night and suffering from heartburn, hemorrhoids, and various aches and pains. She may have stretch marks, and her legs and feet may be sausage-shaped. Your partner’s tired all the time but can’t sleep. She wants her body back but is frightened about how she’s going to handle giving birth.

You, as your partner’s great ally, her support, and her rock, will earn mega brownie points and endear yourself to her always if you keep telling her how beautiful she is. She wants to know that you still find her attractive — not just because of the way she looks, but because of who she is and the fact that she’s going to make a wonderful mother.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Sharon Perkins, RN, has been a registered nurse, mostly in maternal-child health, for 30 years, a mother to five children for much longer, and a grandmother of three for the 14 best years of her life.

Stefan Korn is a father and New Zealand-based Internet entrepreneur.

Scott Lancaster looked after his daughter full-time for the first two years of her life and experienced being a stay-at-home dad (SAHD).

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