Getting Ready

Getting ready for your baby means getting ready for more than just the birth. The following sounds a bit like a do and don’t list-please just bear with us!!!

Money

Everyone underestimates the costs of babies,and the extras (like clothes for a mum who can’t fit into her old wardrobe!!). So:

  • if you can, build up your ‘baby fund’ before the birth
  • find out about welfare benefits available to your family http://www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz/
  • it is best not to over extend your finances (rent/mortgage/loans)
  • discuss with your partner and employer your wishes regarding parental leave
  • don’t be pressured into buying everything new (as long as it’s safe), your baby won’t notice a new cot but she will notice if you’re working so hard to pay everything off, that you’re never at home.

Your Rights

If you are not living with the mother of your child you may have to pay child support, however much or little you see your child.

Don’t bury your head in the sand about this: you will still have to pay and you will have built up a crippling backlog – Seek advice from a professional body and get to know your rights.

www.fathersrights.org.nz

Your local IRD child support service can advise you on options.

Equipment

Some parents don’t get around to buying stuff or getting the baby’s room ready until after the birth. This is a not really a good idea.

Exhausted and pressured afterwards, you’ll be rushed into ‘bad buys’ or deep in DIY when you want to be getting to know your baby.

Your unborn baby’s health

Most mums-to-be are pretty well informed – but the average dad still isn’t. This wrong foots men: if we don’t know what’s going on we can’t be well prepared and confident. If we’re not confident, we can be sidelined. The solution is to take the initiative.

You can:

  • keep talking with your partner about how you are both feeling,
  • discuss how you will handle the baby’s arrival together.
  • talk about what you both may be losing and gaining, remember, this is a huge change for you both.
  • take time for special things that will be impossible after the birth.
  • go with your partner to antenatal appointments so you can be actively involved in the pregnancy,
  • hear your baby’s heartbeat, and see him move on the ultrasound monitor.
  • ask for the appointments to be at times you can make.
  • ask your LMC/midwife about antenatal classes, and if they’re held at times you can’t manage, ask for the times to be changed; you’ll be doing other fathers (and mothers) a favour too.

 

If anyone involved in the pregnancy or birth ignores or excludes you, you can remind them that when fathers are well informed, mothers typically have shorter labours and need less pain relief; successful breastfeeding is more likely and postnatal depression less likely.If your partner wants to talk with a health professional alone, support this and ask for time alone to talk too. This can be a chance to ask questions you think might worry your partner.

Search out other people to speak with: men usually chat through life-events with their partner, but because they may not want to worry her during pregnancy, many end up not talking to anyone.

Discuss with your partner how involved you both want relatives and friends to be after the birth. If they help out with domestic chores, this can relieve some pressure and free you up to spend time with your baby – but don’t let them ‘take over’ more than either of you want.

Being ‘in the know’

Most pregnancy books are not easy for fathers to read, because:

they focus almost totally on mothers
they tend to patronise fathers
they contain so much information you don’t know where to start

You’re right: it’s not possible to take everything in at once. So keep dipping into topics just ahead of what’s happening in the pregnancy. Learn the terminology-it helps you know what is happening! We recommend the following father-friendly material:

Bounty – Your Pregnancy Guide
fatherandchild.org.nz