Dude! You're going to be a dad! Congratulations! Your mind is probably spinning with all of the stuff that you have to do before the baby gets here. We have some ideas to help you get things organized before baby's big arrival. Here's your dad-to-be to-do list!
17 Hit the Books
When you find out your partner is pregnant, you better hit the books or the Internet. Reading up on pregnancy can help you better understand what your partner is going through, and can prepare you for what's ahead. You should also read about the baby's growth and development. There are lots of books, websites, and even apps that explain and describe how your baby is growing and changing.
While you're downloading apps, you might also want to suggest to your wife that you should take weekly photos to watch her bump progress. She might not feel like it or might not want her picture taken but it will be something she'll enjoy looking back on later.
16 Take Care of Her
Whether it's morning sickness or just being tired, there might be times where your partner isn't feeling so hot. Do what you can to help her out. Find different morning sickness remedies for her to try. What are some things that can help knock off the nausea?
- Make sure your partner stays hydrated.
- Make sure she eats small meals throughout the day.
- Keep some crackers or snacks by the bed so she can nibble as soon as she wakes up.
- Suggest that she gets lots of rest.
- Watch out for what smells and flavors set her off and then keep them away.
- Be prepared: Morning sickness can strike at any time of the day. You might want to make sure there are some plastic grocery bags stashed in her purse and car for on-the-go emergencies. Keep bottled water and mints on hand, too!
15 Go to the Doctor
When possible, go to your partner's doctor appointments with her so that you can stay informed on her health and the health of the baby. It's always good to have two sets of ears to listen, and it's good to tag along in case you have questions of your own.
Don't miss out on the ultrasound! If you can be there, by all means, be there! There's nothing like seeing your baby together for the first time, even if he or she doesn't look like much of a baby yet.
It's also wise to make a doctor's appointment for yourself. Get checked out and make sure you are in the best of health. Make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations. Depending on your age or the age of your partner, you may also be advised to look into genetic testing.
14 Do Your Homework
Start looking into your insurance plans to determine if the baby will be listed under your insurance or your partner's. Ask your employer about paternity leave or taking time off when your baby is born. Figure out ahead of time what needs to be done to secure the baby's birth certificate and social security number. Look into pre-registering your partner at the hospital so it's all taken care of well before the baby arrives.
13 Prepare a Budget
You and your partner should sit down to figure out a budget that you both agree on. Figure out how much you're currently spending on the essentials, determine how much you can afford to spend on baby stuff, and start stashing money into your savings.
It's better to figure all of this out before the baby gets here because once the baby is born, you might not have the time or the energy to sit down and review your spending regularly.
12 Shop 'Til You Drop
It might not be your idea of a good time but your partner would probably appreciate it if you went shopping with her. You should definitely go and set up your baby registry together. It's a great way to see the massive amount of stuff that you are going to need (and all the stuff that you probably don't!) for when your baby gets here.
Don't be afraid to take everything for a test drive in the store. Try out different strollers, swings, and car seats. Practice opening, folding, and closing strollers. Practice attaching car seats to bases or strollers. You're going to be using these big-ticket items a lot, so you want to make sure they're easy to use, carry, and move around. While you're at it, buy your partner and the baby a little present, too.
11 Mr. Fix-It
You know all those little projects you keep meaning to finish? Get around to them soon or else they may fall by the wayside. Things to consider?
Make sure the baby's room has a ceiling fan. Having air circulating in the baby's room is thought to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Clean up and throw out. Babies require a lot of stuff, and you're going to need someplace to put it all. Rearrange furniture. Clean out closets and make better use of your storage space. If you can't use it, throw it out or donate it.
Your baby won't be mobile for some time but it's not a bad idea to get a head start on baby proofing. You can do the easy and obvious stuff like cleaning up and removing fragile, potentially dangerous decorative objects. You can also cover up outlets and get baby gates ready. Once your baby is on the move, you'll find a million other areas that will require some form of baby proofing!
10 Back to School
Sign up for childbirth classes and attend them with your partner. These classes will give you tips on how to support your partner during labor and delivery. You'll learn all about the different stages and phases of labor, what happens to your partner's body, and how to take care of her and the baby after delivery.
Sign up for any childbirth or childcare classes way in advance. They tend to fill up pretty quickly. You can also take dad classes online!
9 Decorate the Nursery
There's going to come a time when your wife won't be able to do a lot of lifting, so try to put together as much of the nursery as you can. Move furniture around and assemble the crib while she puts her feet up and tells you where everything should go.
Also, pregnant women probably shouldn't be around paint fumes. While there's no proven risk from exposure to latex paints, all paints contain chemicals that release fumes.
8 Scope out Help
You and your partner should look around for a pediatrician. Ask friends for recommendations and scout out online parent groups for suggestions. Some doctors' offices may have an informational open house or presentation for new patients. See if you can go to the office and meet some of the doctors and staff.
You and your partner aren't going to be able to do it all. If friends and family offer to help in any way, take them up on it. People can always prepare meals to stock your freezer, do some grocery shopping, and help with the laundry and cleaning.
If you have the budget, it would be great to have a cleaning crew come in and do a deep clean of your house before the baby (and all of your visitors!) arrive.
7 Pamper Her
Pregnancy definitely has its ups and downs, and near the end, your partner may be tired, achy, swollen, and uncomfortable. Pamper her in any way possible. Book a prenatal massage for her. Get her gift certificates to the salon so she can have a haircut or mani/pedi to relax. And sweep her off her feet--literally. She might feel like she has tons of stuff to do but make sure she gets her rest and takes care of herself.
6 Install the Car Seat
Make sure you have the car seat stalled well before your baby's due date. Babies don't always come right on time, and sometimes they show up way earlier than expected. Get your car seat and base installed, have them inspected, and practice taking it out and putting it back in.
You might ride around with an empty car seat for a month or two but it's better to have it ready to go so you're not scrambling around at the last minute trying to figure out how to get the car seat installed so you can take your baby home!
5 Pack Your Bags
Just like the car seat, you're going to want to make sure your partner's bag, the baby's bag, and your bag is packed way ahead of time, just in case.
You're going to need clothes to change into, and if you're staying in the room with your partner overnight, you'll need something to sleep in, too. You might want to bring a sweatshirt because even though you might be freezing, your wife could end up having hot flashes and sweating as her hormones fluctuate after delivery.
Pack toiletries. Don't forget a cell phone and tablet chargers and a camera but check your hospital's policy for photos and videos. Bring snacks and cash/change for parking and vending machines (and a newspaper from the day your baby is born!)
4 Trial Run
It's not a bad idea to take a trial run to practice getting to the hospital before your partner goes into labor. If you're doing a tour of the maternity ward or childbirth classes at the hospital, you can check out different routes and maybe even scope out what traffic is like at different times of the day. You can also figure out where the entrance is and where you have to park the car. Keep the gas tank full at all times. When it's time to go, you need to be able to get going!
You may also want to make sure you have a friend or family member on backup in case something happens and you are unable to drive your partner to the hospital yourself!
3 Social Director
After the baby arrives, your partner is going to be exhausted. Take care of all phone calls, texts, and social media so that she doesn't have to deal with them if she doesn't want to.
Have your partner give you a list of people she would like to have contacted after the baby is born. Have her list people in the order that she'd like them to be contacted, and how.
You can draft an e-mail announcing the baby's birth ahead of time and then send it when things have settled down. Decide in advance how you're going to handle announcing the arrival of your baby on social media.
Maybe you picked out a traditional print birth announcement beforehand, or maybe you're just getting around to doing it. Design and order a birth announcement and then send them to your friends and family.
2 Tag Team
If your partner is breastfeeding, you might feel like there's not a lot you can do to help out but that's not true. There's plenty that you can do to help out! You can burp the baby, change diapers, put him down for naps, and support your partner. Make sure she has plenty of water to drink or bring her snacks while she's nursing. Be supportive. Give her some "me" time. And give her some words of encouragement.
You might not like the idea but consider getting up with her overnight to help out. Again, you can change the baby's diaper and after he nurses, get him back to sleep. Plus, your partner might just appreciate having you there to keep her company in the middle of the night.
1 Ask...And Then Ask Again
When it comes down to it, just ask your partner what she needs. You might not know what to do or how to help, so ask her. Even if she says she's fine, and even if she says she doesn't need help, keep asking her.
Your partner has gone through a massive life change. She's going to be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted, yet she'll probably (stubbornly) try to push through and do things all on her own. Know when to back off but more importantly, know when to step up and help out.