You’re going to be a Dad! Congratulations!!
This is a very special time in your life. You may be feeling a range of emotions right now; excitement, fear, confusion, terror, happiness, proud, nervous, hopeful, good, terrified, anxious, can't wait, fear of unknown, very lucky, delighted, trepidation and probably lots more besides all these!
All of these feelings are perfectly normal and you will probably experience almost all of them at some stage before your baby is born. They are all part of the process as you start to get used to the idea of being a Dad! Experiencing these feelings can have the effect of helping you to start thinking about what kind of Dad you want to become.
The kind of Dad you will be with your new baby will also be setting the foundations for the relationship you will enjoy with your child in the coming years. You may learn a lot about yourself, your family and society as a whole and your views on many issues may be challenged during this time.
Remember, you know a lot already, having lived as long as you have! You’re probably going to be able to figure most things out, together with your partner, so relax a little and enjoy the journey. You may already have some experience of being around babies and small children, perhaps in your own family or circle of friends. If not, it is a good idea to spend some time observing other Dad’s interact with their babies. Parks and shopping centres are usually good places to see these interactions. You can learn a lot by just seeing how other Dad’s operate and manage their little ones!
Dads often want to be helpful in a practical way and this information section sets out to give you some ideas on how to achieve that as you both play your parts in establishing your family unit together.
Click on the tabs in the Information For Dads section to access more content and tips to guide you through the early days of caring for a new baby.
The video links and content are HSE or NHS (UK) approved and contain guidelines and best practice for care of your baby. Click to access the HSE resource Caring for your Baby and the NHS resource Pregnancy, birth and beyond for dads and partners.
- Caring for and getting used to a newborn baby can be a bit chaotic for the first 6 to 8 weeks.
- It takes some time before things start to settle down into a routine. It is normal to feel a little overwhelmed at times but it does get better. Remember, a lot of dads have been through this very same thing before.
- It is a good idea to have a good book to read as it can help you keep a sense of perspective and help you deal with the changes. Take a trip to your library or bookshop and choose a couple of books to keep you going, detective or history are good or whatever you like to read.
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This Information for Dads section has been developed by a midwife who has a special interest in helping Dads prepare to look after their new babies. While the information for Dads on these pages focuses on the time after your baby is born, the following list may be useful for you and your partner during the labour.
• Parking: Bring plenty of change for parking or check out parking apps in advance to use as there is only paid parking in the vicinity of The National Maternity Hospital (www.parkingtag.ie). A parking app has the advantage of allowing you to top-up parking without having to return to your car.
- The current fee in place is €2.90 per hour with paid parking in operation from 07.00 to 19.00 hours.
- Daily rate parking options around the hospital might be worth checking out eg hotel parking.
- Be aware that there can be parking and access restrictions around Merrion Square at certain times, eg Dublin City Marathon and some festivals.
• Food: It's a good idea to have some snacks, a sandwich and some drinks with you, perhaps in the car, to help keep your energy levels up! Protein or energy bars are good options as well.
- If your partner is in labour during the day, you will be able to get food and drinks in the shop or coffee shop at the hospital.
- During the evening and night, there are vending machines available so you will need change for these. There are no late night shops or cafes in the vicinity of the hospital.
- Even making a sandwich or pitta before you leave the house to take with you can be a good idea.
- It can be very warm in the labour ward so make sure to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Wearing layers of clothing makes sense as it will be easy to take off a layer or two if you need to.
• Phone: You might need your phone charger too!
• Hospital Chart: If your partner has been given her hospital chart, it needs to come to the hospital too.
• Luggage: Space is very limited in the labour ward!
- Just bring in a small bag with the essentials for your partner in labour; you can bring in the bag with everything mum and baby will need once they have been transferred to the postnatal ward. Follow this link for a list of what to bring.
- Pack a spare shirt or t-shirt and toothbrush and toothpaste so you can freshen up; it helps keep you alert and fresh.
- Wearing layers of light clothing allows you to remove or add a layer to adjust to the heat in the labour ward.
- Front-opening shirts or tops are ideal for skin to skin contact with your baby.
We hope to add more images and information over the coming months and would value any feedback you wish to give us, using the email contact set out below.
It was announced in recent weeks that Paid Paternity Leave of 2 weeks is due to be introduced in Ireland from September 2016. Click here for more information.
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Good luck and enjoy this very special journey!