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Getting Daddy Involved

During a pregnancy, most of the attention reverts to the mother to be. She is the one who is sick, she is the one who gets the parties, she is the one with the doctor’s appointments, she generally gets all the questions, and the belly rubs. Dad can tend to feel very left out, which often leaves mom to feel like he doesn’t really care and doesn’t want to be involved. The truth is dads normally do want to be involved, they just don’t know what to do and need a little prodding from the mother-to-be.

There are several ways to involve the father in your new addition before the big arrival, starting with day one and finding out you are pregnant. Some women want to take the test with dad and celebrate immediately together. Others choose to take the test alone and tell the father after the results come in. If the dad is not with you, you can tell him in any number of exciting ways.

If it is around a holiday or his birthday, you get him a card from the baby. If you have other children you can have them meet him at the door wearing t-shirts that say, “I am going to be a big brother/big sister”. You can also go to the store and make a little gift bag with baby booties or a rattle and stick the pregnancy test in the bag to give to the dad-to-be over a special dinner out.

Once the dad-to-be knows of the pregnancy is when the fun begins. If he wants to, let him help decide how to tell the rest of the family, and his family in particular that there is a new addition on the way. Let him make the plans so that he feels involved in the decision. If you are sick and he wants to help, let him be there to rub your back, bring you ginger ale, and make you eggs, or whatever it is you can keep down. Try to schedule your doctors’ appointments at a time when he can attend as well, and encourage him to ask questions. While they eventually might be routine and boring for both of you, knowing that you are trying to accommodate his schedule will help him feel involved.

Discuss baby names with him, and listen to his opinions and feelings. Make sure he can go to all the ultrasounds, and discuss with him before hand if he wants to find out the sex of the baby. You don’t have to agree, but if there is a discussion he will know that you care about his feelings and what matters to him.

If family or friends are throwing you a baby shower, discuss with them either letting the father attend (assuming he wants to), or having a co-ed baby shower. If neither of these will work, get together with another male you know and consider throwing a “Men’s only” baby shower for your husband, inviting the male friends and family members that have children and know what to expect.

Let the father be involved when creating the baby registry, and put things on the registry that he wants for the baby, even if you think or know that it isn’t needed. Besides Lamaze or other childbirth classes you and the father-to-be take together, look into some classes specifically for dads either at the hospital or your local baby store. You can also look at classes for both of you dealing with newborns or infant basics, and make sure when you schedule them that the father-to-be can attend as well.

Tell the dad when you first start feeling the baby move, and let him lay his hand on your belly to try to feel the baby as well. Encourage him to talk to the baby and read to the belly, and if he is willing, let him give you massages and rub lotion on your belly. When it comes time to deliver, encourage the father to not only be by your side the entire time during delivery, but to stay in the hospital with you at night, sleeping on the pull out chair or couch that is provided so that he can be with the baby every minute that you are. Let him hold the baby, change diapers and bring the baby to you when the baby is crying. Also, have him accompany the baby to the nursery if the baby has to go for the various newborn hearing checks and blood draws.

Just a little effort on your part will help the father feel as involved in the pregnancy as you are, and who could argue that the back rubs and tummy massages aren’t one of the greatest things about being pregnant!

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