Most women insist on reading the instruction manual (we men all know that’s a waste of paper) and many feel the need to ask for directions, so it is only natural that almost all the feedback we’ve had for developing this site in the past 15 years has come from females.
So, while a lot of our information applies universally to ‘parents’ there is also a lot just for mums, basically, because they’ve asked for it!
However we make a concerted effort to provide specific stuff for fathers as well; from support from other dads in the forum, to information and resources.
I am the co-founder of the Bub Hub. The Bub Hub is a rarity among parenting websites in having males highly involved in the day-to-day running of the site.
As a dad of three great kids and having worked in the parenting space for 15-odd years, I have some personal tips for dads to keep in mind …
6 tips for fathers from Bub Hub founder Brad
1. Do your research
Having a baby is a huge life change for both parents so DO SOME RESEARCH and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or assistance from friends and family. If you leave the research to your partner, you cannot be unhappy if your perspective is overlooked!
The experience can seem scary if you are not well informed. You do not have to be an expert, but the more you know, the calmer and more fun the journey will be. Trust me when I tell you that a small amount of research compared to being pregnant and having the baby is an AWESOME trade off for us blokes AND normally earns big brownie points! Our Dads Info Hub is the perfect place to start.
2. Figure out what works for your family
This may sound contradictory to my first point, but it is crucial to understand that every birth and baby is different! So, while you get advice from lots of sources, only keep what works for you, your partner, and your baby – and remember that what worked for baby number one may not work for baby number two, number three etc. Having babies is a very natural process so try not to overcomplicate it. Sometimes it can help to chat your experiences through with other dads – and our forum is the place to be.
3. Be a good birth partner
While we boys basically stand around being blamed for the pain (tip: do NOT argue with them about that during the birth) we can and, in my opinion, should be prepared to help with the birth – and not just with the breathing. Make sure you have a hospital bag packed and ready two weeks or so prior to the birth. Be prepared to do anything to help make your partner feel better during the birth, from fetching ice chips, to taking abuse, to back rubs, to cutting the cord.
Most important is to be involved in deciding on the birth plan and helping to ensure it happens (some hospitals are great with this and others not so good). The feeling when you look down at your newborn is indescribable but so worth it.
4. Be helpful
In my opinion, it is crucial for dads to be aware that while their partner may not be ‘working’ after the birth, this does not mean that life is easy! A woman’s body goes through some pretty significant changes because of pregnancy, labour and birth, not to mention the major surgery involved with a caesarean. Do yourself a favour and take the mindset that going to work is a LOT easier than staying at home and you should be prepared to help prior to and after work.
5. Be actively involved with your children
We are all very busy these days, but I cannot stress the importance of being involved with your kids. Be a coach, attend the kindy function, go to swimming lessons, play in the park, or just read a story. Thirty minutes of one-on-one time is good for you! Yes, your kids will love it but small children do not understand stress – they are joyful, happy beings. Trust me when I tell you that spending time with small kids is better than a tonic (most of the time!).
6. Spend quality time with your partner
This last point is a biggie! Kids are great – no question – but you did not marry your kids, and it is crucial for parents to have some alone time. I strongly recommend having a date night to reconnect with your partner 1-2 times per month once baby is old enough to be left with someone.
Once you’re comfortable with the idea, you can even consider a weekend away! Even if the weekend is the kids going to the grandparents so you can have the house to yourselves! Sleeping in, not watching The Wiggles 24/7, and having adult conversations for 48 hours all recharge the batteries. I strongly recommend it.
I know dads often prefer to learn through experience which, while making the journey interesting, can also cause unnecessary anguish. So I encourage all dads to grab the bull by the horns and take advantage of the support and resources out there.