As a father of two daughters and now a 15-day-old son, I thought I knew everything about how dad can be as helpful as possible when mom has just given birth. Well, I was wrong. There’s always something new to learn. So, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks for other dads, which I’ve figured out from my experience helping my wife and family at the maternity ward (times three).

Honest Eugene and His New Son

1. Bring a folder so you can organize all the information and forms you get from the hospital (a brightly colored one is great, so you won’t forget it in the haze of everything).

2. Decide on the baby’s name (and spelling) as soon as you can. My wife and I were torn throughout her entire pregnancy about what middle name to give our new son, but I knew we had a self-imposed deadline—leaving the hospital! Not deciding early can delay your discharge process.  Not to mention, if you name your baby after leaving the hospital or decide to change it after submitting the birth certificate and social security application, I hear the paperwork process can be very time consuming.
 
3. Research Feeding Options. Breastfeeding gives your baby a great start, but for many health and personal reasons nursing exclusively isn’t always an option. If you’re concerned about what formula you may feed your new baby, call the hospital ahead of time to see what they offer and then do your research to find one that your family is comfortable with—we recommend organic. Then, you can bring a small amount of your preferred choice if they don’t offer it.  Also consider taking advantage of the hospital’s lactation specialist before, during, and after your stay at the hospital.  They are very helpful since each baby is different. One more suggestion, dads: Try to refrain from giving the mom breastfeeding tips.  Trust me.

Honest Baby Max

4. Take everything!   There are so many little mementos you can take with you and cherish for years.  Examples include:  your baby’s nametag (ankle bracelet), the name card on the baby bassinet, pictures (and names) of your nurses, the baby cap, and more pictures! You can also take supplies, which you pay for as part of your hospital stay. I know when there are free products for the taking, it’s hard to be selective and you end up grabbing everything.  My advice is to check the ingredients and make sure that it’s the best, safest product for your baby before taking it home.  My pick? The dry gauze wipes!

5. Ask your nurses questions!  Even though I’ve done this before, there are always things you forget and new ways of doing things. The nurses know everything, so ask them whatever is on your mind from diapering to caring for the umbilical cord to giving the first bath to new swaddling techniques. Because labor and delivery can leave you exhausted (making it hard to process and remember everything), ask if it’s okay to take videos of the nurses teaching you these things. It’s a great reference tool once you get home.

6. Pamper your wife.  After the baby arrives, consider getting your wife a special gift.  Pamper her.  Treat her to a spa day once she’s ready for it and invite her close friends to keep her company.  Hire a family photographer to take photos of your children together and capture their first moments as siblings. Give commemorative jewelry. A colleague at Honest suggested these great necklace pendants personalized with a monogram.  Since we have girls, I chose the first initials of each of our girls.  An “L” for Lauren and an “M” for Madeline. Now that our son Max is here, I’ll be getting my wife another pendant with an “M” for Max!

7. Buy a big sister or big brother gift for your baby’s siblings.  Given the new addition around the house, some kids may feel deprived of mom and dad’s love and attention.  Big bro or sis gifts go a long way. FYI: Your work is definitely not over…making sure older siblings (especially the middle children) adjust well to their new baby bro/sis will take some time.

Enjoy your growing family!

~ Honest Eugene (aka Max Daddy)

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  • Sandy

    LOL: “One more suggestion, dads: Try to refrain from giving the mom breastfeeding tips. Trust me.” So funny! Looking for organic and eco-friendly nursing pillow options? Check out: http://doubleblessings.com/

    • Sylvia

      Wow! Those pillows with the privacy cover are awesome!

  • Sylvia

    I hate to sound like one of those judgmental, crazy, breastfeeding is the only way people, but I am surprised to see something about formula on the Honest blog. There are situations where formula is necessary, but the true necessity of it is very very rare. If a new baby’s diet is supplemented with formula, the mother’s milk will not come in at a sufficient rate. If this is going to be included, please at least explain that the mother should pump as if she was doing all the feedings. And please include breastfeeding support as something to pack for the hospital.

    • Jenelle

      Hi Sylvia, I’m in complete agreement! Breastfeeding should always be the first option. I understand there are rare occasions when this is not possible, but it’s beyond scientific that this is the best route for both mother and baby. Thanks for mentioning that!

      • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

        Hi Sylvia and Jenelle,

        Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge about breastfeeding. There are many parents and many choices—all which are unique. At Honest, we support all members of our community and different points of view, as they know what is best for their families. We appreciate your participation in this open conversation.

    • seattlemom

      There is not nearly enough support for those women that choose not to breastfeed for whatever reason. It’s each woman’s choice – period. Not yours. Just because a company supports organic, environmental friendly products does not mean that those same, formula feeding women don’t enjoy those choices as well. I’m choosing not to breastfeed this time around with my second and no one is going to make me feel guilty for that. And yes, you are being judgmental.

  • Zoe

    Where do you get those pendants ??? Is there a website????

    • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

      Zoe, we will find out for you!

    • Lisa

      Tiffany & Co. has a nice selection in their sterling silver collection!

  • Brandy

    Since my husband and I are adopting a newborn in just few weeks I appreciate the formula advice for the hospital. We know breast milk is the best but like Eugene stated it isn’t always an option – like our case.:-) Great tips that I am definitely forwarding to my hubby!! :-)

    • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

      Brandy, congrats on your soon-to-arrive little one! You must be so excited. We’re so glad you found Eugene’s tips helpful. And, of course, please come back and share your own. We’d love to hear from you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/erikacrooks Erika Crooks

      Some adoptive mothers have successfully induced lactation, so it is an option for those that desire to.

      • Brandy

        We did think about this but due to still being on medications for cancer side effect it just isn’t safe for the baby (I’m in remission though all is well). :-)

        • Krissy

          There are some organizations and websites that can help you find a milk donor (usually a new mother who is lucky enough to produce too much milk) if you are interested in feeding your baby breastmilk. Just a thought, in case you didn’t know. I didn’t know about places like that until I started producing too much milk and we were running out of freezer space. I asked my baby’s pediatrician what to do with it and he was able to direct me to several places and right away I was connected with a new mother who desperately wanted to breastfeed and had been seeing lactation consultants frequently, but still wasn’t producing enough for her baby.

  • Rena

    And # 8. Remember do fully educate yourself of circumcision drmomma.org :)

  • Kat

    As a new mom that suffers from depression, and is unable to nurse due to the medication I have to be on to function for my child, I find it very refreshing for an Eco-friendly company to include a suggestion on how to obtain healthy formula for your newborn. I find people shoving the “breast milk is the ONLY food an infant should have” debate insensitive and degrading. There are reasons a woman should not breast feed their child, like when breast milk is not safe due to medication the mother is taking. I would much prefer to be mentally healthy and able to care for my child than continue the path of postpartum depression because of breastfeeding. By saying that the necessity of formula feeding is rare, you are implying that my choice to be able to c
    feed AND care for my child is wrong. I applaude Eugene for including a great idea for having the right formula for one’s family at the hospital. /end rant

    • seattlemom

      amen