4 Ways to Be a Supportive Father

Having a child changes a relationship completely, and being a father starts as soon as being a mother does. Most new mothers expect and appreciate help from their partner, but that help should start before the baby is delivered. It’s important to show a enough support to ease the transition from a family of two to a frantic family of three. Here are a few ways to support your pregnant partner and start being a great father. 

Go to Doctors Appointments

Obstetrical appointments can get tedious, particularly near the end when expectant mothers have to go in every week. The presence of a significant other can alleviate the boredom of the waiting room, and offer a chance, if an admittedly odd one, to spend some time together. If your partner is an energetic woman who doesn’t like to be kept down, she might not tell you she’s when she should be taking it easy. Going to doctor’s appointments with your partner also keeps you updated on both mother and baby’s health. Additionally, being present at ultrasound appointments can be especially exciting -- actually watching your developing baby move on the monitor is very different from a black and white still shot. 

Make Changes With Your Partner

Being pregnant requires a lot of lifestyle changes -- no martinis with the girls or no sushi for lunch. Nutrition and regular exercise are also important to a healthy pregnancy. Knowing you’re right there with her, and joining your partner in exercise or nutritional changes, can make it a lot easier to get through the restrictive nine months. Likewise, after the baby is born, having support as she gets used to her new body or makes efforts to get her old body back will win any dad about a million brownie points. 

Help Care for Your Baby 

Once you’ve made it through delivery, you have a new little person to take care of. While your partner is recovering, stepping up and taking care of meals and chores can be a huge relief. A lot of new moms tend to sequester themselves with their newborn. Give your partner a chance to get out of the house, without the baby, once in awhile. Breastfeeding alone is a full time job (literally, it can take up more than 40 hours a week), so give your baby a bottle when you can -- if your partner isn’t pumping yet, just burping the baby can be a big help. The middle of the night feedings and cleanups are the best times to give your partner a break. Learn to change diapers, wash baby clothes, and sing lullabyes. 

Keep Your Romantic Relationship Going

Expect your partner to be pretty much completely focused on your new baby for the first few months -- that’s how things are supposed to be. But it’s also important to remember you two have a relationship completely separate from your newborn. Make sure to take time for you and your partner take time for her, and find a way to make time together. Call in the grandparents or a babysitter, and take your partner out on a date. There’s almost no easier way for your spark to die than with a baby sleeping beside you, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t let it!


Educate Yourself 

Stock up on information about pregnancy right away. Read articles, browse websites, check out books, and talk to experienced fathers about what’s going on with your wife and developing baby throughout these nine months. Being informed about what pregnancy entails can make you more confident in your role and better equipped to support the expectant mother in your life.

Go With the Flow (Or the Mood Swing)

Pregnant women have to deal with crazy hormonal changes, starting right about the time of conception and continuing in the weeks after giving birth. Unfortunately, “hormone changes” mean mood swings. Understand that emotional outbursts are normal and try to help your partner cope -- this might mean some extra attention, a nice foot rub, or just giving her some time alone. She knows she’s being irrational, she just can’t help it. Being open and honest and sharing your own fears is another great way to show you’re right there with her. 

Make Dad Friends

Even before the baby is born, finding a few friends who are also dads (or soon-to-be dads) is a great way to know what to expect. Experienced dads will be able to sympathize and put your mind at ease in a lot of ways. It’s also a good way to take some time for yourself, and give your partner some of the same. Dad friends also mean mom friends for your partner. Not to mention potential babysitters once your baby is born to give you both some much needed alone time amidst the diaper frenzy. 

Last Updated: November 03, 2017