6 Labor and Delivery Tips for Dads

While you may think mom does all of the work during delivery, dad plays a vital role in ensuring a smooth, stress-free delivery and can make all of the difference in how it goes. Here are 6 labor and delivery tips for dads to help make the big day run smoothly.

1.      Educate yourself about the delivery

Don’t be caught off guard by the medical lingo you hear the doctors and nurses discuss regarding your wife and baby. Take the time during pregnancy to read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, etc. that are educational and helpful about the process of labor. Understand the various procedures that will or could happen, and as much terminology as you can. Look up things about your doctor or the doctors who could be on call, what their experience is and what they believe. Some doctors will list articles they’ve published about natural labor, or the importance of skin-to-skin, or the avoidance of the use of forceps. Knowing what’s important to your doctor and what they’re areas of expertise are can help you in your interactions with them and the decision-making process.

2.      Pack yourself a bag

Of course make sure your wife has a hospital bag packed with everything she and the baby will need, but you’re going to be spending a lot of time there, too. Don’t get stuck greeting visitors with stinky breath from not having a toothbrush, or worrying about your BO rubbing off on the baby when you hold him/her. Have your own bag packed ahead of time with all of the essentials you’ll need for at least 2 days in the hospital. Hopefully you’ll be able to get out of there on time and with no complications, but 2 days should get you through until you can leave or can ask someone else to pick up anything else you’d need.

3.      Take charge of communications

On that note, you’ll want to announce the baby’s birth when he/she is born, but probably want to avoid your phone’s ringing off the hook during that precious time. Allow mom the chance to bond and recover peacefully by taking charge of all communications. Set up a phone tree where you’ll call 1 or 2 people, and then they will make calls or announcements according to your wishes. Make sure your wife is feeling up to visitors before people are allowed in the room, and basically be a buffer between the rest of the world, your wife and new baby. There is no feeling like holding your brand new baby in your arms for the first time. Savor that feeling and moment as much as you can before letting the rest of the world in.

4.      Learn relaxation techniques for yourself and mom

Labor can take a while, and result in long stretches of discomfort and uneasiness. Waiting for test results or progress in the labor can be stressful, but it’s extremely important that you handle this stress constructively. Learn breathing techniques, learn how to relax your muscles, learn how to slow your heart rate, and learn how to coach your wife to relax. There are recordings you can find that can help you relax, and don’t hesitate to use them. Clear minds make rational decisions, and this a time when you need a clear mind.

5.      Be strong

You may have to make some tough decisions. Sometimes emergency C-sections happen. Sometimes when the baby is born, he/she needs immediate care and is taken away right after delivery. Doctors will still be focusing on your wife and ensuring her body is taken care of, so that leaves a lot of wondering what you should do. In these situations, it’s important for you to keep your composure. Difficult decisions may need to be made, and they will likely fall on your shoulders. Keep perspective and a level head to make decisions in the best interest of your family, keeping in mind your wife’s wishes if she is unable to be a part of the decision-making process.

6.      Love her unconditionally

This may seem obvious, but hear me out. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery cause huge changes in the body not only physically, but emotionally as well. Hormones necessary to help her and the baby’s body grow and develop normally can take a while to go back to normal, and can result in actions and emotions from your wife that you don’t recognize. Realize that her words and behavior are largely influenced by hormones and body chemistry, and while she may even get easily frustrated or take out her stress on you, remember to love her, “through sickness and health,” and that this is the time she needs you the most. Be strong for her. Talk calmly; don’t let yourself get caught up in the emotions. When one of you is weak, the other must be strong. Continue being kind, continue serving her, and try to meet her needs. This time will pass and things will change, but your life for each other should not.

 

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7 (More) Ways to Include Your Partner in Your Pregnancy

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you’ve probably read our first post about seven ways to include your partner in your pregnancy. Today, we’re back with seven more ideas, to help your partner feel the excitement and experience of preparing for your baby to arrive.

 

1. Plan a birth announcement/gender reveal party that focuses on the two of you.
Collaborate on fun ways to announce that you’re expecting, whether it’s a “We’re expecting” card, or a fun social media proclamation. If you’re into the whole gender reveal party trend, plan it together to up the fun factor. And make sure you have someone on hand to document your reactions.

2. Help his friends plan a “Dadchelor” party. 
This is a fun way to give your partner a fun night out with friends that can also be about the baby. Help or encourage them to plan a night at his favorite restaurant, or get tickets to his favorite sporting event. Or have a fun barbecue in your backyard… baby-themed decor optional, of course.

3. Register for baby items together. 
If you’re married, this is a fun throwback to when you registered for wedding gifts, and it’s also a great way to jointly select items for your baby. That way, you both can discuss your thoughts about what baby needs, and decide together. Also, using the scanner is super fun.

4. Jointly write your baby letters in a journal or blog. 
Take it week-by-week, and write your unborn child letters about how you feel about her and her impending arrival. Document these in a physical baby book or on a private blog. Trust me, these will be treasures both before and after baby is here.

5. Read a baby book together.
Reading a baby book together (like this one) is a wonderful way to plan for your baby’s arrival together. It can also open a dialogue about expectations and goals that can be really constructive. Be open to your partner’s suggestions and don’t be afraid to try things that you might not have considered on your own. After all, you’re a team!

6. Plan a Babymoon
Make room on your schedules for some quality one-on-one time before baby. Whether it’s a staycation at home or a fun destination location, take the time to bond and talk, because your dynamic will change once the baby comes home.

7. Ask him to baby proof the house. 
This is an especially good idea if your partner or spouse likes to be handy, as he can install all the baby gates, doorstoppers and outlet covers throughout your home. Nesting activities like this help create excitement for the new baby, and make her forthcoming debut all the more exciting.

 

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Best Babymoon Destinations

Doesn’t a getaway with just your spouse before the baby comes sound amazing? A babymoon is worth researching and investing in before you expect your little one. This will give you time with your spouse to keep your bond extra strong and to discuss your future plans for when your baby is here.

(Note: travel prior to your third trimester for safety precautions and discuss any travel plans with your doctor.)

Beach Destinations

Akaiami is one of 22 islands in the Aitutaki atoll of the Cook Islands, South Pacific. It is located on the eastern perimeter of Aitutaki Lagoon to the north of the smaller islands of Muritapua, five kilometres to the southeast of the main island of Aitutaki.

If sun, the beach and coconuts all sound appealing to you, try these tropical getaways:

(Note: check-in with this website to get updates on where the Zika virus has had outbreaks.)

Hawaii

Hawaii is such an easy going and laid-back island to visit that we can’t think of another place to visit for the ultimate way to relax. We suggest going to one island and staying put to fully enjoy what it has to offer. If you don’t feel like hiking while pregnant, look into visiting Kauai or Maui. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling or relaxing on the beach.

Caribbean Cruise

If you’d love to see many different countries but would love to relax too, consider going on a cruise. You can go on a shorter 3-day cruise, or getaway for up to a week or even 10 days. Did we mention how pampered you’ll be on a cruise? And, food, literally is in abundance on the ship, so you’ll be able to squash all of those food cravings too.

Domestic Getaways

There are plenty of wonderful options to visit if you want to stay somewhat close to home. Consider these domestic getaways for your babymoon:

california coast

Southern California

Southern California may not be as tropical as Hawaii, but it definitely is much more affordable and still can be a perfect babymoon. Not only does Southern California have many beach options to visit but it also has a beautiful coastline that you can explore on foot, bike or car.

Visit the San Diego Zoo if you need a break from all that relaxing to see some diverse animals and gorgeous landscaping. (Don’t plan on seeing the entire zoo- it is HUGE. But, do try and visit your favorite animals.)

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is a great alternative if you need to escape the cold weather where you live. Not only is the weather a plus, there is great shopping, yummy restaurants, fun museums and great hiking spots.

Austin, Texas

Austin is a great place to sight-see, hear live music and indulge in some great food. Pick a hotel that is close to downtown Austin so you can walk to great BBQ restaurants and visit their awesome museums and state capitol.

Best Bed and Breakfasts

pexels-photo-104985

If you are unable to get away for a week and can only squeeze in a weekend getaway, a Bed and Breakfast getaway is the perfect alternative for you. Warm, personalized service and mingling among guests is one of the perks of going to a B&B.

If you are looking to find a Bed and Breakfast in California, peruse this list.

Doesn’t going to a B&B in Yellowstone sound fun? If so, this list is for you.

The east coast has plenty of B&B options too. In fact, there are options available in New England, Virginia, and New York.

Or, if you are down south, there are options to get pampered in Texas, Georgia and many more places here.

Staycation

If money is a hindrance for you in planning a babymoon, consider a staycation! Stay home but do something you normally wouldn’t do with your spouse. Book a double pedicure for each other to get pampered, go and see back-to-back movies, finally visit that hard-to-get-into restaurant that you’ve been dying to try. Or sleep in all morning and binge watch your favorite television series with your go-to treats and snacks.

Although the point of a babymoon is to get away, more than anything else, it is to bond with your significant other before the craziness, yet amazing, ride of bringing home a newborn. Have fun!

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The Ultimate Gift Guide for the Mom-To-Be

Owlet

The key to giving thoughtful gifts is to be observant to what your loved ones subtly mention they want or need. For example, maybe you overhear your buddy saying he’d love to go to a Cubs game someday, or your mom say she’d love to try a new restaurant in town. Then you act accordingly, surprising them with what they really want and scoring major points in the relationship.

But with the pregnant women in your life, it’s not that easy. Mostly because if you’ve been paying attention, their subtle desires have sounded something like, “I wish I could eat pizza without getting heartburn,” or “ugh, I wish I could have just ONE day without nausea,” or maybe, “one night, just ONE NIGHT of sleep without getting up to pee every half hour is all I ask.”

What can ya do.

Maybe you can’t magically expand her bladder or reduce her acid production, but getting her one of these thoughtful and unique gifts will still score you some major points.

Movie tickets

popcorn-movie-party-entertainment

Sometimes you just need an excuse to get out, and buying movie tickets ahead of time is a great way to muster up that motivation to leave the house, especially when you’re super pregnant or have a newborn. To this end, it might be a good idea to get general movie tickets that can be redeemed for any show time to accommodate her health and energy levels.

Clothing Gift Card

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Newly-pregnant mamas will be excited to build up their maternity wardrobe, and newly-postpartum mamas will be excited to get out of their maternity wardrobe and get back into regular clothes. Either way, a gift card to their favorite store for buying clothes is a win-win for your expecting lady. And it’s a much better option than buying the clothes yourself, lest you buy the wrong style or, heaven forbid, the wrong size.

Owlet Baby Monitor

Remember how what she really wants is sleep? Well, you actually can give her not only more sleep, but better sleep with the Owlet monitor. Owlet tracks baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels and is designed to notify you if either fall out of range. After months of restless nights during pregnancy, and now stressful nights of worrying about baby, she just might cry when she sees you got her the Owlet monitor. Or, if you’re looking for baby shower gifts, add Owlet to her registry through BabyList here.

Ultra-plush blanket

blanket

 

I was never a blanket person until I was at a friend’s house and they had one of these super-soft ultra-plush blankets. Then my world changed. One wasn’t enough – I had to have several, and the bigger the better. And I had to get one for each of my kids and family members. I quickly learned that the benefits of swaddling were not limited to infants. I made my husband tuck it around me every night during my pregnancy and, oh my lanta, it felt like being wrapped in a heavenly cloud. Then after my baby was born, curiosity got the best of me and I discovered the burrito roll: lie on one side of it, grab the edge with your hand, then roll up in it like a burrito. It may sound strange, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

Moral of the story: these are the perfect gift for the pregnant women in your life. And for their babies to snuggle with them. And yourself, and your parents, and your friends, and heck even your dog would love you more if this was gifted to them.

Ultrasound frame

 

This is one of those things that I had every intention of getting with both of my babies, but never did. I would’ve loved this when I was pregnant, because all of my ultrasound pics ended up in a memory box. This would be a very meaningful and thoughtful gift that would likely be displayed in baby’s nursery. Here is a cute one from Target that she would love:

ultrasound pic

Surprise Family Member Visit

Back to being observant to what she says she wants – has she mentioned missing someone? Wishing she could talk to someone, or has she been reminded of someone special lately? An amazingly incredible gift would be to reach out to a longed-after family member or friend, and see if they could swing a quick surprise trip to visit. She would probably cry, she would probably tell you that you’re the most thoughtful person ever, and this gift would go down in the best-gifts hall of fame forever.

Car detail

Once the baby is here, cleaning the car is going to be difficult for her to accomplish. Finding the time to do it on her own is one thing, but finding the time to take it in to have it professionally cleaned and detailed, while having to wait with a baby, will be next to impossible. And babies become master car-destroyers in an impressively short amount of time. So surprise her with a gift certificate to have her car detailed or, better yet, take it in early one morning so when she wakes up and gets in the car, she’s happily surprised with a gleaming, shiny ride.

Blue Apron subscription

Hooray for freezer meals and casseroles from neighbors… (insert eye-roll here). A better option for easily-prepped meals for those early postpartum days, or even those tired pregnancy days, is a subscription to Blue Apron. All of the ingredients delivered fresh to your doorstep. No grocery shopping. No spending hours prepping freezer meals. No eating lasagna or tuna casserole for 4 days a week. Easy, delicious, and nutritious meals will be an extremely welcome gift for the pregnant in your life.

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