The demands of modern fatherhood have today's new and expecting dads experiencing things previous generations of men were excused from doing, for the most part. Or ran screaming from. Or just flat out laughed at. Here's a preview of just a few of the awkward situations and how you can handle them.
1. "I won't have enough money."
"My wife is the big earner, and she's taking time off. I have no idea if two can survive on my salary, let alone three."
— Jeff K.
Reality: Most expectant fathers overestimate the financial hit they're about to take. Sure, there are some big-ticket items—the crib, the Hummer-size stroller, the industrial-strength diaper whiz. Half these things will magically materialize courtesy of friends and family. And the rest of the stuff won't cost nearly as much as last year's outlay on bachelor parties.
Worried about something you may have been exposed to while pregnant or nursing? Visit the Office of Tertology Information for up-to-date information on dangerous substances. You'll find fact sheets and answers to frequently asked questions about exposure to specific medications, herbal products, infections and vaccines, medical conditions, illicit substances, and other common exposures.
It's official: she's having a baby, and you're becoming a dad. It's a brave new world, and we've got your back: whether you're looking for cool baby gear, what to expect when she's expecting, or advice from dads on the front lines of fatherhood. Congratulations, dad-to-be: your boys can swim. Now the real fun begins.
On Becoming A Dad
Expectant moms aren't the only ones whose hormones fluctuate. In a small study at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, researchers found that first-time dads-to-be experienced a significant decrease in the male hormone testosterone as well as cortisol, a stress hormone. They were also more likely to have detectable levels of estradiol, a naturally occurring estrogen known to influence maternal behavior. The change in body chemistry may help men respond differently to the new situations they'll face as dads—and possibly encourage the father-child bond.
If you worked construction, would you wear a pink tool belt? Would you get on the subway carrying a briefcase with duckies on it? Just because you are taking care of the kid doesn't mean you have to look like a girly-man. Your work as a Dad 2.0 is the most important you will ever do, so why not get gear that is as guy-friendly as it is useful? Here are 10 items tested and approved by DadLabs.com. (Go to fitpregnancy.com/inthisissue for quick links to all the sites.)
Maybe our forefathers were right. Maybe a man's place during his child's birth should be in a smoky "stork club," reading the newspaper, instead of holding the laboring mom's knee and watching the baby "crown" (this gets my nomination for the best euphemism of all time). Woe to the dads of today who look to the fathers of yore for wisdom on diaper changing and 2 a.m. feedings--these predecessors will just shake their grizzled heads and laugh.
Labor nurses like me love dads-to-be who do whatever it takes to make the new mom and baby the stars of the day. Fortunately, that's most of you men out there. Once in a while, though, someone steals the spotlight with his less-than-stellar behavior.
A man's worry about his partner's planned C-section may exacerbate her own anxiety and fear of the operation, increasing her post-surgical pain, according to a report from British researchers. And there's more than just a new mother's comfort at stake. Higher pain levels can slow recovery and may even compromise breastfeeding and bonding between mom and baby. Dads-to-be can ease their fear of the unknown by reading up on the procedure.
If your hubby packs on pounds during your pregnancy, it could be nature's way of preparing him for fatherhood. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studied monkeys and found that when their mates were pregnant, the male monkeys gained weight, perhaps to meet the physical challenges of fatherhood. Weight gain in men is "probably real, with a possible evolutionary purpose behind it," says study co-author Shelley Prudom. Who knew changing diapers was so tough?