Date: July 1, 2012
Several classes for new dads are offered around the Triangle to help "school" new dads in all things baby-related.
Teer House in Durham presents a free monthly class called New Tools for New Dads. Instructors teach dads how to establish a routine with their baby by focusing on issues such as balancing work and family, managing alone time with their baby, and maintaining communication and intimacy with their partner. Visit teerhouse.dukehealth.org to learn more.
The Women's Health Information Center in Chapel Hill offers a monthly Boot Camp for New Dads at N.C. Women's Hospital. Taught by Ivan Weiskoff, the class costs $25 and covers changing diapers, managing crying babies, organizing finances, taking care of Mom and more. Learn more about the class at nchealthywoman.org.
WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh also offers a Boot Camp for New Dads for $20 per dad. It teaches new fathers how to play an active role in their baby's lives — before and after their baby is born. "Coach" David Jenkins advises taking the class prior to a baby's birth and reassures expecting dads that they will survive the challenges ahead.
"We leverage the returning dads as the experts and have an open discussion with them," Jenkins says. "We tell them, 'Sleep deprivation builds character' " — news they typically take "very quietly," he adds. Learn more about the class at wakemed.org. (Click on Women's Pavilion and Birthplace to find the registration link.)
Here are some of Jenkins' tips for involving new dads in baby-related activities and decisions:
- Buy your wife a present to thank her for all she has endured to bring this child into your lives.
- Pack your own bag to take to the hospital so you have snacks and entertainment handy during labor and lulls in activity. You might miss something — big — if you have to run out for those items.
- Put a dimmer in the nursery so when you get up to change your baby's diaper, you can keep the light low to help ease baby back to sleep.
- Help crunch numbers: price disposable vs. cloth diapers when you and your wife are deciding which kind to use. Also price formula vs. breastfeeding and consider the health benefits of breastfeeding when deciding whether to breast- or bottle-feed.
- Say yes to neighbors who offer help providing meals or baby-sitting during the first few days and weeks after baby's birth.
- Remember this rule of thumb: When baby sleeps, mommy sleeps.