As the only national organization focused on new fathers, we have a responsibility to support others who want to help prepare men to be the dads. Starting with childbirth educators, our partners since inception, we are building resource centers to support the practitioners and organizations who share our mission:
Respect: The #1 Best Practice for Working with Fathers-To-Be
Whether you are a professional working with fathers, a child birth educator, doula, OB/GYN, midwife, or a new mom, respect should underpin all of your interactions with new fathers. Respect is animated by the realization of a few key points we have found to be true of almost every new dad:
- Dads-to-be want to be involved with their child and support their partners, so “preaching” that they do so is counterproductive. Assume they do, provide information and suggest alternatives.
- The initial trepidation shown by some dads is more a reflection of the poor job our society has done preparing men for fatherhood than a statement of his individual feelings about his child. He is processing a variety of concerns and even fears, so be patient and give him time.
- During pregnancy, fathers can connect with their baby by imagining the adventures they will share as their child gets older; this can be encouraged by asking what they would like to do.
- Early involvement and success in caring for his newborn are critical to the formation of a father’s confidence, so encourage and equip him with the necessary skills.
- Most dads prefer to learn about their baby using a hands-on approach versus reading books, so provide visual and hands-on opportunities such as walking him through changing his baby’s first diaper.