Becoming a Dad Article
Protecting Your New Family
Mom-to-be will be feeling vulnerable, and she and the baby she is carrying will be at times. Part of your job will be to protect them, and since men have done so throughout history, the intuition to do so comes naturally to new dads.
If you find yourself worked up and angry at the driver tailgating you and your pregnant partner, or at the stranger who offered her some unsolicited advice, chalk it up to instinct. Just don't overdo your reactions.
This is no time to be shy of course, so join your billions of ancestors, pick up your proverbial spear and ward off any threats that may come your way.
Opportunities to protect her and your baby may include:
- Poor drivers, including yourself - Drive with an extra margin of safety and get a little compulsive about checking out the condition of her car. Remember road rage does not protect your family, it endangers them.
- Falling or toppling over - Her baby and belly will continually grow, shifting her center of gravity and creating the danger of a fall that could hurt her or the baby. Clear out anything she could trip over on a night time trip to the bathroom. Use nightlights and make sure steps and railings are secure. Don't let her pick up anything heavy, and hold her arm to help her balance on walks.
- Well-meaning relatives and friends - Her own mother, your mother, her sisters and friends all want to help, and this networking is essential to mom's peace of mind. But sometimes one will go too far with inappropriate criticisms of how she is handling her pregnancy, to the point that it hurts. You may need to step in and, in the nicest way possible, tell them to back off.
- Her own emotions and fears - She can get upset and scared, and can feel incredibly alone even when surrounded by people who love her. She needs you more than anyone else to hug, comfort and reassure her. Even when it hits both of you that it's too late to turn back, she needs you to tell her it will be all right.
Keep Your Baby Safe
Little is worse than your child being seriously hurt, particularly if you could have prevented the injury. So after he arrives, keep your protective instinct honed and operational.
Take care of the obvious, such as his car seat and baby proofing the house, and learn to be vigilant about potential dangers such as sharp corners on the coffee table or a popped balloon he may eat.
Make it your permanent role; while part of being a father is to teach your child to take risks, you also want to show them how to be smart and minimize the dangers.
Keep Yourself Safe
For your child, little is worse than something bad happening to dad, and of course you will want to be around to finish the job. Male prebaby behavior tends towards risk-taking macho, so you may need to rethink some of your activities and tendencies.
Many dads continue to jump out of airplanes, dive to serious depths in the ocean, and climb high mountains. It's just that those who do get fully trained, strictly observe weather guidelines, and set their parachutes to open above 1000 feet.
For most of us, dad safety has to do with more mundane matters such as moderating our alcohol intake, assessing our driving behavior, and following safety precautions around equipment. Be careful out there.
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