Those poor dads. With all the action happening in the mother's belly, Dad can feel pretty left out. You can draw him out of the shadows and into your baby's life by including him in some of these ways:
Invite him to accompany you to medical appointments. Give him a book on fatherhood to occupy him while you're sitting in the doctor's waiting room.
Ask for his input on decisions such as which crib to buy and what color to paint the nursery. Even if he'll happily leave those choices up to you, he may like being asked.
Give him the lead role in your pregnancy. He shouldn't have to play second fiddle to your mother, your sister, or your best friend.
Talk with him about his own father. Ask him how he thinks his parenting style will differ from his father's.
Encourage him to rub your belly. Some partners hold back from doing this. Welcome him by placing his hands on your belly.
Set aside "kick time" for him. Many babies are at their most active when you lie down at the end of the day. Schedule a half hour or so before bedtime for the two of you to lie in bed together feeling the baby kick -- you from the inside, your partner from the outside.
Invite him to talk and sing to your baby. Research shows that babies are born recognizing familiar voices.
Give him jobs to do. For example, ask him to burn a CD with music you might want to listen to during labor.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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