Dads and Daughters + What New Dads Need to Know + Surprising Facts of Modern Parenthood

[amazon asin=1440545456&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Brian Klems, author of Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl.
Topic:
A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.
Issues: Learning to love pink, tea parties, and painted nails; thinking ahead to her first crush, dating, marriage; why having daughters is the best.

[amazon asin=0981577946&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Joe Deyo, author of Checklists for the New Dad.
Topic:
Pregnancy, delivery, and baby’s first year
Issues: Building a solid plan for fathering; making a smooth lifestyle transition with a baby at home; improving yourself and your marriage; baby proofing the home.

[amazon asin=0345465040&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Sam Apple, author of .
Topic:
Strange, surprising in modern babyland.
Issues: Is the Lamaze method a Stalinist plot (yes!); Does it sting when you pour baby shampoo in your eyes? Who invented waterbirthing? And many other odd, unusual, and strange thinks about parenthood.

Apps for Dads? We Got ‘Em–for F.r.e.e!

mrdad on pregnancy -- the ONLY app for expectant fathers

As some of you may know, we’ve started turning the content from my bestselling books (waaaay more than a million copies sold!) into great apps for dads. The first one, “Mr. Dad on Pregnancy,” is based on The Expectant Father and in just three months has had more than 15,000 downloads. You can get that app–at no charge–in the Apple App Store by clicking here. “Mr. Dad on Pregnancy” is a fun, interactive, and entertaining way for dads-to-be and their partner to learn everything they need to know about pregnancy and childbirth. It’s the perfect Father’s Day present.

But that’s not all…

Keep an eye out for two new apps for dads: “Mr. Dad on Babies” (which is based on the sequel to The Expectant Father, The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year) and “Mr. Dad on Military Dads” (which is based on The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads). We’re hoping to have both out before Father’s Day.

Please contact us if you’re interested in in-app advertising or sponsorships. The rapidly growing audience for our apps for dads is extremely targeted. Every player is a guy who truly wants to be an actively involved father–and he’ll be looking for tools, resources, and yes, products to help him achieve that goal.

Top States for New Dads in the Workforce

A new state-by-state analysis released for Father’s Day shows how little the nation supports and protects employed fathers when a new child arrives. The special report, Dads Expect Better: Top States for New Dads, includes an analysis of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and workplace rights for new fathers in the United States. It finds that only 14 states and the District of Columbia are doing anything at all to help new dads who work in the private sector.

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Picking A Childbirth Class

Every expectant couple I know is taking a Lamaze or Bradley class. Is it really necessary to learn about the childbirth process? Or will I end up sitting around with the other dads, listening to a bunch of pregnant moms talking about babies?

One of the advantages of taking a childbirth preparation class is that it’ll give you and your wife the opportunity to ask questions about the pregnancy in a more relaxed setting than her doctor’s office. You’ll also get a chance to hang out with other expecting couples and listen to the women swap stories about how much weight they’ve gained, how much their joints hurt, how many times they get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
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Is This Really the Beginning Or Just an Ending in Disguise?

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is pregnant. She already has two children from two different dads, but this will be my first child. She seems to have feelings of regret about the whole thing even though we planned this pregnancy for a long time. How can I reassure her that we’re going to be fine and that she is the most important thing in my life right now?

A: In the first year after the birth of a baby, 90 percent of couples have a huge drop off in the quantity and quality of their communication. Half the time it’s permanent. That sad little statistic goes a long way toward explaining why the divorce rate among couples with small children is among the highest of all. Given that your wife has had two children with different fathers, it’s clear to her that having a baby isn’t enough to keep two people together. In fact, in her mind, having a baby may actually be the first step toward the end of a relationship.

Telling your wife that she’s the most important thing in your life is a good first step, but you can’t just say it once or twice and let it go. With the baggage it sounds like your wife may be dragging around, she’s going to need to hear those words on a regular basis. You also need to banish the phrase “right now”—as in “she is the most important thing in my life right now” from your vocabulary. Someone who’s as worried as your wife is will be asking herself, “Sure, I’m important to him now, but what about later?”

If you’ve ever taken a writing workshop you know about the importance of showing over telling. So get ready to start proving that you’re in it for the long haul. How? Well, it seems kind of trite, but some of the most basic approaches are the most successful. For example, calling her a few times a day just to tell her you love her, sending her flirty texts (or, if you’re feeling adventurous, sexts), leaving love notes in her purse or some other place where she’ll find them, bringing home flowers, and planning some getaways. You don’t actually have to go very far or for very long. If you Google “babymoon,” you’ll find a ton of resorts and hotels that have romantic, massage-filled, packages ranging from a long afternoon to a full weekend or longer, and from pretty reasonably priced to insanely expensive.

Okay, that takes care of showing your wife that you love her. But there’s still the issue of demonstrating that having a baby isn’t going to kill your marriage. This is another case of show it don’t tell it. And there are all sorts of ways to make your point. Start by doing some reading. My book, “The Expectant Father,” is a good place to start. If you’ve got friends or relatives with little kids, visit them often and try to get in some baby-holding time. The object is to show your wife that you’re interested in learning everything you can about what it takes be an involved dad. Next, get out your calendar and have her tell you when all her prenatal OB visits are. Then, try to make it to as many of them as you can. Just showing up will be a credibility booster. Bringing along a few questions for the doctor will boost your stock even more. Oh, and while you have your calendar out, schedule a childbirth prep class.

Coaching the (Childbirth) Coach

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is pregnant and wants me to be her “labor coach” for the delivery. This is my first baby and I’m really nervous. What can I do to prepare?

A: Congratulations on your impending fatherhood! The very first thing to do is banish the word “coach” from your childbirth vocabulary. When things don’t go perfectly with an NBA or NFL team, the coach is the one who gets fired–sometimes right in the middle of a season. And someone else comes in to finish the job. Thinking of yourself as a coach puts way too much pressure on you. You’re the dad. You can’t be fired.

Next, learn about labor and delivery by attending childbirth classes with your wife, reading books like my The Expectant Father and The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year, and taking a tour of your hospital or birthing center. Then talk with your wife about what the ideal delivery scenario would look like. But resist the urge to create a written birth plan. Labor and delivery rarely go as planned, so lots of flexibility is essential. Here are a few discussion starters.

  • Many hospitals require constant monitoring (via a big belt and an IV), which could limit your wife’s mobility. Sometimes hospitals don’t let laboring women eat anything but ice. How does she feel about these policies?
  • In what circumstances would your wife want a C-Section, an episiotomy (an incision in the vagina to enlarge the opening), or assisted birth (forceps or vacuum extraction)?
  • Does your wife want an epidural (for pain) immediately or does she want an unmedicated delivery? If she wants to avoid medication, what other pain management techniques will she consider? How will you help her deal with the pain?
  • Who’s in the delivery room? Unless your wife specifically requests someone else, you should be the only non-medical professional there.
  • Atmosphere. Does she have a favorite song? Does she want loud, thumping music or a quiet setting with soft lighting?
  • Does she want to capture every minute of labor and delivery or wait until she’s had a chance to brush her hair before you start shooting?
  • Does she want to see the baby crown (when the head appears) using a mirror? Do you want to cut the cord?
  • After the birth, who gets to hold the baby first? Does your wife want to try breastfeeding right away? Do you want to bank your baby’s cord blood (check out cordblood.org)?
  • Pack a hospital bag for yourself, including a change of clothes, basic toiletries, a snack (for you, not her), and a swimsuit (she may end up laboring in a shower or tub and there’s no reason why you can’t be in there with her).
  • Unless there’s a clear medical emergency, don’t hesitate to ask what the nurse or doctor is doing and why. If something isn’t going the way you and your wife planned, speak up (she’ll probably be too exhausted).
  • Tell her how amazing she is. Labor and delivery are tough, and your support and encouragement will make a huge difference in her ability to cope.

Finally—and perhaps most importantly—trust your team. Stories about doctors pushing drugs and C-Sections may have been true a while ago, but not now. Unless you’re an MD or Labor & Delivery nurse, you’re probably not qualified to make medical decisions. If you can’t trust your OB to do (or suggest) what’s best for your wife, you really need to find someone else.