Preparing for baby: A guide for dads-to-be

You’re going to be a father – congratulations! You might be wondering what life’s going to look like when two becomes three. Whilst every parenting journey is unique, one thing is universally certain. Your help and support, even before your baby’s arrival, is absolutely vital.

You would have heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a baby, but it’s not just an overused cliché. Mothers without exception need to be surrounded by a supportive and caring network, and these days, when we don’t often have family nearby, that most important role falls on your shoulders.

No pressure, though! We’ve got your back, dads. We’ve put together this handy guide for dads-to-be to prepare for the arrival of your baby.

Preparing for baby: A guide for dads-to-be

Take ALL the classes with your partner

Make the time to go to or attend the online birth classes and antenatal classes from about the 20th week mark in the pregnancy. You may not be able to make it to all of the antenatal appointments (perhaps because the hospital won’t allow it), but you can still be educated and informed. Giving birth is a huge event for your partner, so your knowledge and tools about how to best support them through it will help to alleviate her anxieties, moving towards a positive birth. 

Agree with how you’ll divide the duties

Having the discussions now about who will do the feeds, the nappy changes (day and night), the cleaning, bathtime, and settling will save a lot of arguments and angst later. Once you bring the baby home is not the time to do it. You’ll both be tired, your partner will be physically healing from the birth, and hormones will be askew. Plus, you’ll both be wanting to get to know this amazing new little person! As long as rest for everyone is prioritised, and you both feel supported.

Create some plans together

If your partner plans to breastfeed, help her to create a breastfeeding plan. Learn how you can support her, find out what she needs, help her find resources and professionals to talk to when things don’t go smoothly. The same goes for bottle feeding. Set up a comfortable feeding station together in the house with everything she’ll require. Discuss and research different approaches to sleep and settling so you’re on the same page. Learn and plan to sleep your baby safely. If one of you is okay with sleep training and the other isn’t, you need to work this out and possibly speak to a sleep expert about the potential risks and benefits

Pack your hospital bag

Babies don’t always come on their due date, so at about 35 weeks into the pregnancy, it’s a good time to pack your hospital bag with all of your essentials. If you plan to stay overnight, you’ll need a change of clothes, pyjamas, toiletries, phone charger, water bottle and snacks. As a thoughtful surprise, you might also like to bring some massage oil to give your partner a relaxing foot massage, some soothing room mist, or a calming playlist of some of her favourite music. Help her to pack for herself and the baby as well (use our checklist).

Get the car seat professionally fitted

If you’re driving your baby home from the hospital, you will need to put them in an approved rear-facing capsule or car seat. Ensure it’s properly installed and fitted by an authorised child restraint fitter. The other important thing to do is practice getting it in and out of the car. It’s certainly something you won’t want to be trying to figure out when you’ve got your newborn in it, and you’re probably feeling very tired, excited, and anxious. 

Get meals sorted for the first month

Cooking is usually the one thing that most new parents struggle to do, so you can start to cook and freeze some nourishing meals now. Once the freezer is full, you could look into a meal delivery service for the first few weeks. Plus, if anyone asks how they can help, suggest that they drop off a meal (or three). Tired new mummas have a tendency to choose meeting the baby’s needs before their own (that probably will never change either!)

Create a list of important contacts

Please know that you’re not alone in this. Write down important and emergency numbers, stick them on the fridge, and put them in yours and your partner’s phones. These include the hospital, obstetrician, friends and family (who you not only want to share the good news with when it happens, but that you can call on if you need anything), other like-minded dads you know who can lend an ear if you need a chat, and any helplines such as:

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