1. YOU are up to the challenge!
Life is about to change. You're about to welcome in the most important person in your life, for the rest of your life. Come in with your heart open! Fear is completely normal. I was crippled by it leading up to my Daughter's birth. But you know what? When I first saw that baby and put her directly on my chest...I knew this was something that not only I had to do, but COULD do now that I had something so amazing to work for and be there for.
2. Support that parner!
You guys are a TEAM. Be like one and try to be as kind to each other as you can. Stakes are high. Tempers flare. Kiss and make up quickly, try to be on top of what needs to be done and when and make sure that you do as much for her as you can. Her body and mind have been through a LOT. We go through a lot as well, but remember who is REALLY under the pressure and stress here. Look at her, love her and bring that life into this world with reckless love and abandon what you think you know. This is a journey you have to take together for the rest of your lives. Act like it!
3. BE PREPARED!
Have the bag ready to go! Have something in the car. BE ORGANIZED. Trust me, it will all fall apart, and when it does, DEEP BREATH, and fix the problem. You are the Dad now. Don't forget that. You're not going to be perfect, but a lot of being Dad is in the preparation. If you're organized, think ahead, take advice from other dads and put the ego down to let others help. It's OK. Believe me, use any and everyone in the hospital/birthing center you can. In a day or two, they won't be there.
4. Be Good to Your Medical Team!
Medical and birthing professionals are there to help. You are a team bringing this life into the world. They do this every day and almost all of them, very much, love what they do. So let them do it! Don't be the family that's a nightmare for the nursing and doctors staff. You have questions and that's completely fair. But remember, this is what they do and they're good at it, so be good to them!
5. Don't Forget Kangaroo Care!
If the pregnancy goes well, that baby goes right up on Mom's chest for the immediate skin to skin bonding that is critical to the first moments of life. Enjoy your golden hour! EVERYONE OUT! It is your time with your little one. At some point, Mom will want to give the baby over to you. Put them on your chest and enjoy the beginning of the rest of your life! DO remember that in the hospital there are a LOT of nasty bugs. Clean off your chest before all bonding in the hospital. Then, when you get home, you're good.
6.KEEP DOING THIS SKIN TO SKIN BONDING!
You need to be doing this as frequently as you can for the first 3-6 months of life, ESPECIALLY if you have a preemie. If you're in the NICU, this can't be done enough! Mom needs to do it, but she will. She's breastfeeding/with the baby a lot more. But if you don't get bonded to that baby, the family unit can come apart, and that's not good. So we recommend using the DadWare Bondaroo around the house in the postpartum period. It can open easily to expose the chest for skin to skin bonding with infants and gives you a comfortable option to bond with your baby and keep you both warm! Also, when you go to grab some milk, you're already wearing a cool shirt! Or if the mailman comes, you won't freak them out with the Dad bod.
Good luck and happy bonding. Enjoy the new family you are starting or continuing and be the best Dad you can be!