The role of father-to-be is—in many ways—a thankless one. Once the news gets out, the mother-to-be will be the focus while you bask in her glow. You’ll be relegated to building the crib, rubbing her feet, and bracing for severe mood swings. But you matter, too—and when the baby arrives, you’ll be called into action. Until then, here are a few things expectant fathers should know.
This Is the Calm
Believe it: a storm is coming. An adorable storm, but a storm nonetheless. These are the last days to enjoy many things that you’ve taken for granted. Soon, all the following will be gone:
- Full nights of sleep
- Conversations about anything other than breast milk and diapers
- Clean shirts
- Boundaries with your family
The pregnancy will not always be pleasant. There’s amniocentesis, an interminable baby shower, and way too much information about the placenta. But cherish this time with your partner. Connect, communicate, and celebrate. You’ll be evolving from a couple into a family.
The Planning Starts Now
There are a lot of things for expectant fathers to know, and right now the only thing you know is that you know none of it. Don’t give in to anxiety and panic. Channel your urgency into concrete planning for your baby’s future. A few things to decide on include the following:
- Philosophies about child-rearing. You and your partner should discuss everything. Do you want your baby circumcised? In which religion will you raise them? How will you approach discipline? Would you like them to have more siblings?
- Whether you should save bank cord blood and tissue. Your child will be on your health insurance and monitored regularly by a pediatrician. But with every tiny sneeze, you’ll probably be Googling possible diagnoses. If at some point anything does go wrong with the baby’s health, preserving umbilical cord blood could prove to be a life-saving solution.
- How to save for college. If you had any disposable income before the pregnancy, it is now spoken for. Strategize about a new household budget while keeping an eye on the big picture. Your long-term saving plans should include a fund for your child if they choose to study for a higher degree.
You Won’t Really Assist
The doctor might ask, “Will the father be assisting in the delivery room?” You can say yes—but know this: your role is simply to be there in case you’re needed. You could be “assisting” in any of the following ways:
- Distracting the mother-to-be from pain with celebrity trivia
- Taking pictures of her (flattering pictures)
- Supporting her back
- Gripping one of her legs
- Getting the nurse
- Getting the doctor
- Getting ice chips
- Making phone calls to update anyone else involved
When it’s over, you might plan to give your partner a “push present” for all she’s been through. As for your baby, storing their newborn stem cells might be the best gift you can give them. New England Cord Blood Bank can share cord blood banking facts with you and answer your questions. Contact us for more information. Good luck, dad!