Preparing for fatherhood: top tips for Prince William and other new dads
24 JULY 2013
Even under the gaze of the world's media, Prince William performed his fatherly duties perfectly on Tuesday evening. The proud new father expertly placed his tiny son in the back of his car before getting behind the wheel and driving his new family back to their home in Kensington Palace.
For a moment, you could forget that this was history in the making - it was, quite simply, a modern and down-to-earth dad eager to play his part in the first precious few hours of his son's life.
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Like many fathers, William will be keen to take a hands-on approach to parenting, and in the next two weeks, will have an important role to play at home looking after his baby boy and of course his wife Kate.
HELLO! Online speaks to Regina Curran, Midwife at The Portland Hospital for top tips on how William, and other new dads, can prepare for fatherhood.
How might a new father prepare their home for their partner's and new-born’s return from hospital?
Dad should be familiar with the car seat and know how to put the baby into it and how to fix it into the car. He should also make sure that the house is clean and tidy, and that there is plenty of food in. Additionally, it is important that the baby's cot and changing area are ready for use and well stocked with supplies.
How can a new dad help with feeding their newborn?
New dads can assist with feeding in many ways. When mum is breastfeeding, dad can be supportive by ensuring mum is comfortable and relaxed. He can also get the baby ready for its feed by changing the baby’s nappy and settling the baby as mum prepares for nursing. After the baby is fed, new fathers can help by burping and settling the baby again.
If the baby is being bottle fed, dads can assist by washing and sterilising bottles, preparing the feed and of course feeding the baby himself.
How might a new dad overcome any nerves about handling, feeding and changing their child?
This is an exciting new adventure and most new parents will find that they learn many new parenting skills and increase in confidence as they go along. Should expectant parents want to develop their confidence before their child arrives they can attend a baby basics class, such as that offered by The Portland Hospital, where experienced midwives teach new parents to feel better prepared when the baby comes along.
What can a new dad do to help support their partner after childbirth?
Once new parents return home with their baby it is important that their partnership comes to the fore and they nurture their baby together. There are many ways new dads can make life easier for all the family and, if possible, being at home with mum initially is great as you both adapt to your new role as parents. Making sure that the new mum is nurtured herself by doing the cooking, hoovering and laundry will be a great help, as will ensuring mum has adequate sleep, rest and good food.
If the child is born by Caesarean, are there any additional responsibilities the father should try and take on?
After a Caesarean section mum needs to recover from major abdominal surgery as she adapts to her new role as a mum. All assistance will be appreciated by her as she heals.
Are there any meals men should avoid cooking for their partner after childbirth?
The only foods that men should avoid cooking for their partners after childbirth are the ones the new mum doesn't like! Once baby is born the foods restricted in pregnancy are back on the menu. No foods are banned and mum should have a healthy, nutritious balanced diet.
How might a new father help their partner if they develop the four day blues?
If mum gets baby blues it's important that she feels supported and knows that you're there for her. Remember baby blues are only temporary and, as her hormones change, it will pass.
What is the best advice you can give to a new father?
The best advice is simply to be there and be involved in your new baby's care and all that it entails. Relax and enjoy every moment with your partner and new baby.