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Share your tips on helping your partner prepare for a new arrival - win a ticket to Babyfest 2016!! NOW CLOSED

(35 Posts)
RebeccaEMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Jul-16 15:04:20

So you've probably read every book on the subject and been posting on Mumsnet since you were TTC. The baby is coming and you're as ready as you'll ever be.

But what about your OH? If you feel your DP or DH isn't quite as prepared as you are what do you think they need to know about labour, birth and beyond? Or, if you've been through it all before, what advice do you wish had been shared with your partner at the time - or what wisdom might they give with the value of hindsight?

We're looking for your tips on how they can help you prepare for the big arrival, and what they'll need to know when you go into labour; how they can be helpful in the delivery room and what you'll want them to do once the baby is finally here.

Everyone who posts comment on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will win a ticket to Babyfest 2016.

What is Babyfest?

If you're a new parent (or soon will be), then you need Babyfest! Mumsnet's one-day boutique baby event has everything you need for birth and beyond.

Unsure what to pack in your hospital bag? A bit worried about breastfeeding? Or simply in need of a good old pampering session? When it comes to babies, we’ve got every angle covered.

A ticket to Babyfest gives you access to a full day of expert talks on breastfeeding, weaning, sleep and more. Drop in to practical classes - covering everything from first aid to baby bathing - and get hands-on with product demos, as well as enjoying free pampering sessions and a glorious goody bag full of essentials (and treats) for you and your newborn.

Find out more about Babyfest - and book now.

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Rockingaround Mon 18-Jul-16 17:09:16

Dads just need to be 'allowed' to find their own way once baby arrives. I put a lot of effort into biting my tongue and not giving him advice about our first child <even though I'll admit I was quite neurotic with the first> they forged a beautiful relationship together, he had his own way of settling/comforting/entertaining her which was very different and a bit more slap-dash than mine, but hey ho. Even when she was fairly small (I expressed) he would head off with her in the back pack for the afternoon.

Dads need to feel a sense of real responsibility, they need to feel they can do it on their own, this promotes a really good team effort, if you can both do it all, it's easier to share the load and not harbour resentment.

My DH is completely hands on, and I honestly think it's because he was from the beginning, he is also very considerate and caring of me and my needs, he knows when I need a break, a sleep in etc as he knows what hard work it all is and it's a marathon not a sprint! Ours are 6, 3 and we're expecting with number 3.

(Would def still love to go to babyfest tho! There's new inventions of essentials!)

For this labour my DH will be as he was with the last two - very quiet! I naturally go into myself when I'm in pain and am very quiet and just breathe the gas and air throughout, granted DH wasn't asked to do much but if I needed tea, something from the bag etc he knew what to do as I'd showed him the bag, asked his opinion if he felt I needed anything else, packed enough etc. I also asked him to choose the outfits/blanket for the bag etc I also made sure daddy held babies first and cut the cord!

You've just got to hold hands and take these steps together, then when those same darling babes are back chatting you and smacking their siblings with the washing prop it's a real comfort to know you have a united front grin <it's them and us>

CopperPan Mon 18-Jul-16 18:48:57

DP picked up a lot of tips just by googling and watching Youtube videos grin. I don't think he read any books, but he had a flick through a few of mine. He's a really laid back and thoughtful person and I don't think he needed much more advice than just continue being the person he is! He has always been very keen to be hands-on and I was happy for him to take the reins from the beginning.

Stripykitten Mon 18-Jul-16 19:27:26

I gave DH 'The Expectant Dad's Survival Guide Everything You Need to Know' for father's day last month with a happy father's day card as if written by the baby. He thought it was quite funny and did read bits of it.

I agree with Rockingaround though, many mums don't allow their partners to look after their LOs cos they are afraid they'll get it wrong and that's not really fair on them. We're expecting our first child and it's been a great experience to learn about parenthood together. I share everything the midwives tell me with him as well as my worries about labour and post-natal recovery. We also make every decision together from which pushchair to buy to what colour we should paint the nursery. If anything, the pregnancy journey is helping us grow closer as a couple, or actually I should say as a family.

Havingkittens04 Mon 18-Jul-16 22:03:33

DH will be great once lo arrives as he's been there, done that, with DD. Unfortunately, what's new to him is coping with a pg wife and a pre-schooler.

I talk positively about how the baby will bring lots of lovely additions to our little set-up, and how DD will thrive in the role of big sis and that her acting out, my morning sickness and the tiredness all round is temporary.

DH is working full-time and after getting home from work, and on weekends, is struggling with our young, boisterous DD at times, as I'm currently spending a lot of time in bed suffering with morning sickness, and I feel he may be worried how we'll cope with the new baby in the mix. I'm helping him see past this taxing spell before our little family is complete by counting our blessings, and reminding him that it's short term 'pain' for long time gain wink x

asuwere Mon 18-Jul-16 23:02:43

Biggest tip for labour is don't complain about being tired before going for a nap, then complaining about the chair being really uncomfortable!! hmm

BadlyWrittenPoem Tue 19-Jul-16 16:51:45

I just chatted with DH about plans and things I was reading.

Iggi999 Wed 20-Jul-16 08:29:53

I had enough to do thinking of myself rather than expending any energy on "helping my oh prepare for a new arrival" - talk about wife work! Thank goodness my dh did his own preparation and was as capable of reading a baby book as I was.

Stretchedfortime Wed 20-Jul-16 19:06:48

Our doula recommended an amazing book called Men, love and birth. Admittedly we haven't yet put it into practice but it has made my OH far more supportive and understanding in pregnancy, which is great.

blinkowl Wed 20-Jul-16 21:52:07

Simply take the baby, let me sleep. (Or shower on my own / eat / have a cup of tea that's not stone cold / whatever).

Please don't come home think you are being supportive by jumping straight into cooking dinner or whatever, before you've let me have a break from the baby.

Please. Just. Take. The. Baby. And let me get at least 5 minutes rest (or better still, 50).

I love the baby, but not having a single moment to yourself while also being severely deprived of sleep is more draining than I have words to describe.

sharond101 Fri 22-Jul-16 12:30:35

We did hypnobirthing together, nothing could have prepared my Husband better.

SanityClause Sat 23-Jul-16 11:05:36

I'm a big bemused that it's seen as the pregnant woman's job to help prepare her partner. Surely they can prepare themselves?

SomeonesRealName Sun 24-Jul-16 07:15:34

Thank goodness someone's said it. Why does this sponsor think women should do the wifework of preparing their adult partners for parenthood? Men have equal access to books, classes, other parents, the internet.

helenatroy Sun 24-Jul-16 22:54:25

After breakfast every morning we listen to our baby's heartbeat (24 weeks pregnant after 8 early miscarriages). Any unusual things like the way baby kicks feel I try to explain to him. He is very involved and was as heartbroken as I was with the way earlier pregnancies ended. We started a hope chest when I reached the 12 week mark. Most weeks I buy something small for it like sleep suits, little toys or a picture for her room.

smileyfacehalo Mon 25-Jul-16 07:45:02

Involving babys dad was a huge part of pregnancy. Some women get very selfish, think its all about them and its not. Its about you as a family unit. Hypnobirthing taught us a bit about this, about bonding as a family, talking to each other as if the baby was born and in the room (as they are with you everywhere when you are pregnant!)..... I tried to ask his opinion over loads of things. Doing the nursery together made it real for him i think. Blokes really miss out on the support e.g. i had alot of women at work supporting me, and in mat leave all the clubs/courses you can do. There needs to be more made to change the language of bumps and babies clubs to make it explicit they are open to blokes too. And another thing - its ok for each of you to have a break. Like even 20 mins stroll round the garden whilst one of you looks after the baby. Its a full on period of time, and you may never have spent that long with your partner if they are allowed an extended period of paternity leave!!.......

Ntinyn Tue 26-Jul-16 08:41:19

Nothing I did prepared him. I bought him a book, he read it I believe but didn't have much impact. Took him to John Lewis to look at all the paraphernalia and that just freaked him out massively. Then DD came along and tbh we both weren't prepared despite all the apparent preparation.

Sleepysausage Tue 26-Jul-16 09:10:50

The most helpful thing my husband did was provide plenty of fluids and meals without asking me what I wanted. I was exhausted and didn't want to make any unnecessary decisions, not even what I wanted for dinber

eurochick Tue 26-Jul-16 10:06:57

I agree with the wife work comments! Why would I need to help a functioning adult with this?!?

SweetPeaPie29 Thu 28-Jul-16 02:39:40

I would say to encourage your OH to read some of the information in the books your reading or even buy him a book of his own, which is what ive done. When your reading stuff get him invloved by telling him what youve read and asking what he thinks about it. I think the biggest thing is to share how you feel with your OH and dont do everything so individual, when your looking at nursery furniture on the internet show him things and see what he likes. Men often feel out out place and not sure what to do. As when your pregnant you can be moody even when their trying to show affection or helping then when they take a step back were crying that they dont care and however much we describe it its not the same as they dont have the baby growing inside them. I reckon men could feel a bit left out of the whole emotional rollar coaster ride. I was saying that i wish i could connect our brains so we could share the morning sickness to half mine and so we can both be all over the place together. But i beleive that the OH job is to try to keep us sane as much as possible untill the babies born. Its hard for men to feel ready as they have had no changes in their body such as hormones like women do.

Mummageddon Thu 28-Jul-16 21:08:40

We needed an honest 2 way conversation about labour, e.g. he didn't want to see anything gory, he was not going to cut the cord etc.. I gave him my hypnobirthing book and asked him to basically leave me alone in labour as much as possible! I'm glad we had the conversation as it worked well.

After the baby arrived, I knew logically that he needed to find his own feet with Ds but I couldn't help myself from offering "advice". The one thing I'm grateful for is that my DH saw through all my crazy and was supportive until igot over myself and the hormones.

Try to avoid sleep deprived arguments! If you have a generally good relationship, you don't want to say something in anger that you'll regret. This time will pass. Try to talk calmly, tell each other what you need without recriminations and assume the best intentions.

Mummageddon Thu 28-Jul-16 21:18:56

Agree with the wife work comments! My response is geared towards both parents really, based on our experience.

Dozer Thu 28-Jul-16 23:11:24

Jeez, men who are becoming fathers can do their own preparation!

blinkowl Fri 29-Jul-16 00:30:21

I don't entirely agree with the wifework comments.

This is not something like tidying the house - a thing that was traditionally seen as women's work but actually that's totally cultural, nothing to do with biology.

Having a baby is biologically "women's work" - by that I mean the physical work of growing a baby inside you, delivering that baby and - if you don't bottle feed - then feeding that baby from your body.

And the thing is, we are not robots. Our body is not a machine, unconnected from our mind and feelings. They are part of a person with strong instincts and emotions that are affected by hormones and our brain's knowledge of what is happening inside us.

As we grow the baby inside us, we do prepare for the arrival of the baby in a way that non-mothers (not just men, anyone who is not growing that baby inside them) do not.

A funny thing happened when I had DS. My mum met DS when he was less than a day old. And she asked me, "how do I hold him?".
On the surface, a very odd question for a mother with experience of raising two grown children to ask her DD who had less than a day's experience of being a mum to a baby.

But do you know what? It didn't seem at all odd to me at the time. I instinctively knew the answer, I showed her how to hold the baby. I felt utterly comfortable holding my own baby in a way I hadn't with my friends' newborns. That must be instinct surely? I'm not saying everyone has it or feels it, but that we shouldn't be surprised if women take to parenting in those early days quicker than men because a. our bodies have prepared us for it and b. we have a more immediate role (breastfeeding) that we just need to get on with, and which creates bonding.

To pretend that men and women are equal when it comes to parenting very young babies is to deny the huge amount work we as mothers do, and our bodies do, to bring our DC into the world. As the babies get older and less dependent on us then yes the ideal is it becomes more balanced and there's no reason parents shouldn't be able to parent equally.

But the first few months? They're the fourth trimester aren't they? Biology not only culture determines that our roles are different as parents.

Also, as women are visibly about to have a baby, when we're pregnant we get people talking to us about babies all the time. Men less so! It's not obvious when they're not with us that they're about to become a dad so they don't have people reminding them / discussing it with them all the time, like we do.

That said, of course there are some lazy fucker / misogynist men who shirk their responsibilities, I'm not talking about them.

But I'm quite comfortable with the idea of helping my partner learn about what I need him to do to support me as a mother in those early months. That's not instead of him doing his own research, but as well as.

sweir1 Sat 30-Jul-16 18:07:50

Start by waking him up every 2 hours in the weeks before

SpaceDinosaur Thu 11-Aug-16 13:26:52

Baby Dinosaur is due on Boxing Day... My DH has read a fantasticly accessible book in the "Commando Dad" series which covered most things from conception to bringing "baby trooper" home...
His current plan? "Buy wine and stock the freezer"

My job is apparently to watch 😁

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