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Advice for Expectant Dads from a Dad Expert

Go to the pregnancy section at any bookstore and the shelves overflow with advice and how-to books for expectant moms.  However, when it comes to the dad-to-be, the titles are pretty few and far between.  We sought out dad expert, Lance Somerfeld, Co-Founder of City Dads Group, to offer up some much-needed advice and tips to help calm dads’ nerves and answer those nagging questions that they might be too afraid to ask out loud!

1) How can dads best support the mom to be?

Communication is imperative. Have conversations about your changing lives as new parents even before the baby is born. Important topics include taking parental leave, juggling work and family, sharing parenting responsibilities, and potentially dealing with baby blues and postpartum depression.

It's important to develop a birth plan so that you're prepared to welcome your new baby. These plans come in all varieties. However, understand that no matter how well prepared you are, something will not go according to plan. You and your significant other are a team and you'll get through it together.

2) Do you recommend planning a babymoon?

Absolutely, take a babymoon...even if it's a road trip to a special or meaningful destination. Most likely, it will be a while before you take another vacation together just as a couple, sans child, so make the time and the finances work to escape before you dive into the all-encompassing world as new parents.  

3) What's an absolute DON'T when it comes to being an expectant dad?

DON'T forget to be thoughtful and intentional with your employer about taking ample vacation or paternity leave after the birth of your baby. In the grand scheme of a 30-40 year career, what's an extra few weeks to be present, engaged, and tuned into the abundance of bonding opportunities together with your new family?

We encourage dads to figure out what benefits they have and use them, to be transparent with supervisors so they know that being a parent is important, and to carve out special time each week to tune in and do something you enjoy with your children.

4) What's an absolute DO?

Expectant dads should spend some time talking with close friends who are new dads for advice, tips, and tricks.  Also, I encourage expectant fathers to take a class or two before the baby arrives. Fortunately, there are groups sprouting up across the country just for new dads. Check out your local listing websites and pediatrician's office for recommendations.

5) What’s your biggest piece of advice for expectant dads?

When both parents are competent, they have a better opportunity to parent as a team. For example, nursing is a struggle, and often a time when moms feel like they are in it alone. Dads can be very supportive of the nursing process even though we can’t physically breastfeed. Bringing the baby over at feeding time, changing the baby’s diaper, and getting the baby back to sleep are all ways in which dads can be intimately involved. If there is a sink full of dishes, a pile of laundry, and a baby to put to bed, you’ve got to divide and conquer. Developing a plan to share the to-do list at the end of the day gets you a lot closer to the moment when both of you can spend quality time together as a couple after the baby is asleep.

Image: Getty

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