With Father’s Day fast approaching, we asked a few dads for some sensible, silly and hilarious tips from dads about how to behave in the labour ward… Brace yourself!
- My advice to men would be as follows:
- Try the gas and air, when the mid wife is not watching, to get into the spirit of things and to make sure that it’s OK.
- Don’t forget a hipflask, the existence of which should be kept completely confidential for the rest of your life. Emitting a calm aura is essential.
- Accept entirely that you are useless in this environment and do not speak unless it is to agree with your labouring wife, to worship your labouring wife or to worship women in general.
- I would say that for best results before during and after, the husband should agree the game plan with his better half well in advance. What she is expecting of him, what she wants him to bring, where she wants him to stand, what she wants him to see. I think most men are not good at subtlety so having a clear to do list will help make things go as smoothly as possible.
NIGHT CLUB OWNER + FATHER OF FOUR
- Make sure your young lady is very comfortable and do anything she wants and try to be as accommodating as possible and try not to be too annoying and useless (which is pretty much all Daddies seem to do, basically get in the way and be annoying!!)
- Stay calm and be supportive.
- A couple of pointers that I would suggest:
- If there is a quiet opportune moment pop put for some air, something to eat and a beer; being in a relaxed frame of mind initially is essential.
- Make sure you attend some of anti natal classes (I think that’s what they are called) and have an idea of what’s going to happen, as it can be a shock to the system.
- Most importantly remember that millions of babies are born every year so try not to worry as that really doesn’t help!
- Not to chew too hard on the gas and air – I nearly passed out after sucking it WAY too hard!!
- What ever you do, don’t do it without her. That’s eating and sleeping in particular. Sometimes labour isn’t over quickly, and it can be an all night thing.
- Unless you’re totally cool with it, don’t watch the actual birth. It’s a thing you can’t un-see and some guys have a tough time dealing with it after. Better to stay by her side and hold her hand than to watch the baby pop out.
- Park the car… kills time.
- Hire a doula. It’s someone else for your wife to scream at.
- Gas and air
Keep out of the way!
- You cannot do anything but relax and make sure you are not in charge.
- A box of Daylesford biscuits went down a treat.
- Music is always great but remember the song the baby arrived to.
- Do a dummy run on your own to the hospital.
- Take change for the parking meter
- Bring a camera, but remember where to stand!
- Firstly, make sure you have plenty of reading material, as there is a lot of “down time”. I made the mistake of only buying one newspaper – granted it was the Sunday Times – but 36 hours into labour I almost knew it by heart. I would make sure you have some music around, so ensure your iPhone/ iPod/ Sony Walkman is well charged and well loaded.
- It can get a bit “tribal” in there, but only a heartless, callous individual would recommend noise cancelling headphones. (Bose do a wonderful set – great bass response). Anyway, the most important thing is to remember and be aware that labour can be a long process (hence it’s name!) so ensure you have plenty of things around to help occupy those more serener, manageable moments.
- Give her a wide berth / ‘birth’!
- Take in a swear box, and charge for each swear word!
- Can I have Sky Sports News on?
- Tumble weed moment for me… I decided to pipe up “Oh look, twins!”… Didn’t go down well.
- Don’t stand down the bottom end. It’s a bit like watching your favourite pub being burnt down.
- Make sure you have a Swiss ball in the labour room – makes a great make shift bed to sleep on!
- Before mobile phones (when my first son was born 25 years ago) I’d have said, take in £50 in 10p pieces so you can phone everyone and have some change for the coffee machine.
- The next thing I’d have said was that you learn pretty quickly that you’ll experience a tumbleweed moment when you jokingly mention to your Mrs and the midwife ‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about, I didn’t feel a thing’.
- The other thing to make sure the World Cup / 6 Nations tournament isn’t on 9+ months from feeling frisky…
- Your not helping your wife by pushing down on the top of her head when the midwife is asking her to push. I learnt that with our first.
- Also… wear a top you like. The pictures you have taken in hospital stay with you forever and looked at by hundreds. I’m wearing a top I wear to decorate in. Can’t see past it.
MANAGING DIRECTOR WITHIN MUSIC INDUSTRY
- Nothing is more important for a new father than being 100% “present” during the labour. Forget that anything else in the world exists.
- Hold hands…synchronise your breathing with that of your partner’s. Be there, spiritually and practically.
- If your partner wants it, take charge of a CD player and background music playlist that’s been arranged to make her feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
- Maybe agree in advance some homeopathic / herbal remedies to take to the birth… ones that help with internal bruising, blood loss, fear and anxiety. Have them lined up in the labour room and be ready to dispense.
- Remain calm, attentive (avoid sharing the gas & air!) and loving throughout, but don’t “crowd” your partner. Give her space without appearing detached. If she becomes verbally abusive during the final stages (as can happen), let it wash over you. She most likely doesn’t mean it!
- If you’re having a water birth, fully immerse yourself in the experience because it is truly beautiful. Don’t hesitate to join your partner in the birthing pool and assist with the delivery.
- If you have the opportunity and it is agreeable to your partner, be the one to cut the umbilical cord. You’ll never forget it.
- Should any problems arise with your new born baby, ensure you are updated at all times by the nursing staff on behalf of your partner, who will most likely be too tired to fully engaged. Take a dominant role here without appearing aggressive to the staff.
- Encourage breast feeding from the outset. It really helps a baby overcome early breathing or anxiety issues.
- Take as much paternity leave as you can and be aware that your responsibility never stops… even when your baby is a twenty-something!!!