Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Newborn Dad To-Do List

As a mama-to-be, my to-do list is constantly circling in my brain: pack hospital bag, wash baby clothes, organize nursery, buy diaper creme, give the dog plenty of attention, do we have enough diapers?, order waterproof mattress protector, and the list goes on. Between being uncomfortable, hormonal, and anxious, I think it's fair to say we have enough on our plate in those final weeks of pregnancy. Surely there are some things I can the HUSBAND!!!

I'm fortunate to have a wonderful hubs who is always happy to help. If I give him a list, he's on it. Without a list, well, he just doesn't sometimes know where to start. We're working on that mind-reading thing, but we aren't there yet.

Here's my list of Daddy Duties for things Dad can take on in those first days after the babe arrives. Do you have anything to add to the list?

While in the hospital:
  1. Family announcement. This is a right of passage for all new dads, right? The obligatory email with a few photos, birth stats, and "mom & baby are doing great" line. You guys may want to discuss who this email goes to in advance, and even start a draft. Chances are, he may not have your Aunt Suzy in his contacts, and we don't want to leave Aunt Suzy out!  If the notification list is overwhelming, you can always designate someone on both sides of the family to initiate a "baby's here" chain to pass along the good news once Dad sends it to them.
  2. Add babe to health insurance. This may be a simple call, a form, or (as insurance is known to be) a ridiculously unnecessary complicated process. Either way, Dad should be able to make the call, fill out the form, or figure out what needs to be done. Even if Mom is the primary person on the account, he should be able to make some headway. He should be able to get the info from the back of the insurance card (which you'll obviously have with you at the hospital).
  3. Order the breast pump. (see here for insurance coverage for breast pumps & why you have to wait until the babe arrives) Make sure he has the contact info on-hand.
  4. Notify Mom's work. You need to get the maternity leave started, so whether that's through the office or a third party (or both), be sure to have the contact info ready for your husband so he can notify the right folks and "turn on" the benefits. If Dad gets paternity leave, start that ball rolling, too.
  5. Notify pediatrician & schedule initial check-up. If the hospital doesn't do this for you, you'll need to call your pediatrician and let them know your baby has arrived. Some will visit in the hospital, others will not. Either way, you need to let the hospital know who your pediatrician will be prior to discharge. And, you'll need to set up an appointment within a few days of birth.  If you haven't already met with your pediatrician (we haven't), it's still a good idea to call them before the delivery date to make sure they are accepting new patients & your insurance. If, after the first appointment you don't love them, you can find someone else for the future appointments. If Dad has made that initial call, it's easy for him to follow up once baby is born.
  6. Take photos, duh! Be sure someone else gets photos of the whole family, too. If there are any shots you really want, make sure he knows in advance. Or, if you really want to be blurred in the background during those first few shots, make sure he knows that too (and reads up on how to focus accordingly).
  7. Of course, whatever Mom asks for during labor & recovery is a given - food, massage, the remote control, etc.
Once home from the hospital:
  1. Stock the breastfeeding station. Make sure Mom has huge glass of water,  a snack, the Boppy, and anything else that will make her comfy...including the remote control or headphones. Dad, you can bond with the babe during this time, too. Tickling the feet to keep him awake & actively feeding, or singing songs during the nighttime feed.
  2. Manage visitors. Talk with Mom to see how she's handling the rotating door of friends & family and manage accordingly.
  3. Let mom nap/shower/etc. Bring out the baby sling and strap him to your chest for some quality father-son bonding time (skin-to-skin is best, even for dads). While you and babe are shirtlessly putting away dishes, vacuuming the rug, or preparing dinner, Mom can spend some time in the shower. (And hopefully she'll sneak a photo, because this is just too cute for words.)
  4. Bathe the baby. If Mom is exhausted, let bath time be part of your duties. Hop in the shower with him for some extra skin-to-skin bonding time. Once he's clean, hand him off to Mom who is eagerly awaiting with the adorable hooded towel. 
  5. Keep a list of needed grocery items. If a visitor calls and offers to pick up anything you need, it's a handy go-to for the staples you may run out of quickly!
  6. Walk Fido. In those first few days, the dog may need some extra attention --give it to her. In the following days, maybe Mom wants to walk Fido while you and Baby have some alone time.
What other ways has your partner helped in those first few days of bringing home baby? Add your ideas in the comments below!

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