For the Family

Having a baby is a family affair! Your husband and kids (if this isn't your first!) will want to be a part of this amazing time of your life. The following pages have tips and downloadables for the whole family to enjoy -- even tips for making sure your children and pets adjust well to the new baby.


Dad

From the day you discover "we're pregnant!" to the day of delivery, a lot can happen. Especially if you're a first-time dad, you may be wondering what to expect, and how you can be most helpful to the mom-to-be. Getting involved in the pregnancy will make the experience better and easier for both you and your partner. So, what can Dad do?

Being Prepared

  • What in the world is happening to your wife? Explore our Pregnancy Guide to learn more about what's happening to the mom-to-be, and how baby is growing each trimester.
  • Since she will become less and less able to do things around the house, you may have to step up to the plate with all the changes needed -- painting the nursery, assembling the crib, generally making room for baby!
  • Attend Parent Education classes with the mom-to-be. Partners are encouraged to attend all tours and childbirth preparation classes, and you'll feel more confident about what to expect throughout the pregnancy and birthing experience.
  • Make sure you know all the ins and outs of the hospital. Take a tour of ST. FRANCIS eastside to learn more about registration paperwork, being present during delivery, visitor rules and more.
  • Help pack for delivery day. Download a checklist of what to bring.
  • Get directions and map your route to ST. FRANCIS eastside.
  • Check out some recommended reading for additional information.

Ten Tips for New Dads

Source: Robin Elise Weisse, LCCE / About.com

  1. Remember that babies aren't really breakable. Don't be afraid to hold yours! Ask someone who is around to show you some great holds for little ones, whether it be a midwife, doctor, nurse, doula, mom, relative, friend, etc.
  2. If you are feeling left out, talk to your partner about it. Chances are it's not on purpose.
  3. New moms often have emotional ups and downs that are not predictable. Be supportive and offer an ear when possible. Learn the warning signs of postpartum depression and seek help if the situation is heading out of control.
  4. Support her with breastfeeding. Tell her that you're proud of her and protect her from well meaning but negative comments about breastfeeding. Take a breastfeeding class during the prenatal period if possible.
  5. Help with the other children or household. Remind mom to let the house go and to focus on her recovery and the new baby.
  6. New dads can also experience the blues or postpartum depression. Much in your life has changed and its important to realize this and get help if you need it as well.
  7. Remember that the only thing you can't do is breastfeed. You can change diapers, soothe a crying baby, carry the baby, play with the baby, anything the baby needs done.
  8. If you need help ask for it. Know who to call in your area for help and support whether it be a doctor or midwife, a postpartum doula, lactation consultant, or the local babysitter.
  9. Mom is going to need extra sleep and care while her body recovers. Get up with the baby when you can. Bring the baby to her in the middle of the night if possible. If you must go back to work check in with her during the day. Perhaps surprise her with some healthy take out food or fresh flowers.
  10. Remember that adding a new baby to the mix is always going to stir your life up a bit, even if it's not your first baby. Learning to live with another human being takes time. Give yourself a break if you need it as well. 

Siblings

Having a new baby is exciting, though it means big changes to your family structure. For children, you can help them adjust to these changes by answering their questions on a level they can understand.

Communicating About Baby

Siblings, especially young ones, will need to know about baby’s habits and requirements. You may say:

  • Baby will sleep a lot.
  • Baby will need mommy to feed him or her.
  • Baby will drink only milk or formula.
  • Baby may cry a lot. It is baby’s way of telling mom and dad that it is hungry or tired or needs something.
  • Baby will need its diapers changed.
  • Baby needs lots of care from mom and dad because it cannot do things by itself like you can.


Children love to help, and you may communicate that as a big brother or sister, they can help by:

  • Playing quietly while Mom or baby is sleeping.
  • Setting the table for dinner.
  • Cleaning up your toys and books.
  • Dressing by yourself and putting on your shoes.
  • Holding baby, or helping give baby a bath or bottle, but only when mom or dad is with you.

Sibling Preparation Class

St. Francis offers a Sibling Preparation Class, which celebrates the child as big brother or big sister through activities and crafts. This special experience is for 3 to 8 year old children (along with their parents) who are about to become Big Brother or Big Sister for the first time. Through stories, video, and activities, the children prepare for baby’s arrival by learning the differences, abilities, and needs of infants. A 4x6 picture of your child is needed for class activity. Find available dates >>

Celebrate Siblings

It's a special thing to become a big brother or big sister, and for that reason St. Francis offers a "Sibling Celebration" package. Once baby is born and mom and dad are settled in the hospital, the new sibling can visit and celebrate as the family with a "birthday cake"and their own very special t-shirt. Schedule a Sibling Celebration by talking with your nurse at the hospital.

Pets

Having a new baby is exciting, though it means big changes to your family structure. In cases where a pet has been the “only child” of the house, they will also need help adjusting; your veterinarian will be another helpful resource for your pet questions.

Remember: never leave a baby and pet unsupervised. Here are helpful tips for your type of pet for a safe environment during pregnancy and after baby arrives.

Dogs

  • If you have a large dog with a habit of jumping on you, you will need to break him of this habit before the baby arrives.
  • Identify habits that may be a problem when baby arrives and begin re-training.
  • Get your dog used to the idea of a new baby in the house by practicing new routines so they adjust to the change. Sometimes using a doll at the table, changing table, or sitting in a seat can work.
  • Teach the difference between baby’s and dog’s toys.


Cats

Toxoplasmosis, an infection that is transmitted from cat feces, is a concern for pregnant cat-owners. This infection poses serious risks for the baby. For a safer environment during pregnancy:

  • Have your physician do a blood test to determine immunity to toxoplasmosis. It is important to do this as early as possible or before getting pregnant. If infected while pregnant, there is an antibiotic to reduce the likelihood of baby getting infected.
  • Wear gloves at all times if you must do gardening.
  • Avoid changing the litter box; have someone else do it. Even the dust can cause exposure.


Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling pets.
  • Take bird to veterinarian for health exam: birds can spread infections, but if healthy, they pose little risk for you and baby.
  • Avoid cleaning bird’s cage; have someone else do it.
  • If you must clean reptile cage, do it outdoors. If you clean in a bathtub, disinfect tub with bleach afterwards.
  • Do not allow reptiles/amphibians or cages near food prep area, or allow to roam freely around the house.