Parenthood. Planning to be great parents

Working as a Team! Nowadays, it is normal for fathers to take a much more hands-on approach to parenting. But have you and your partner sat down to discuss how this sharing of responsibility will actually work out? Take some time to talk over your thoughts on general baby care, night-time feeding, sleeping arrangements and the many other changes that are about to transform your lifestyle.

Team Player

Fathers nowadays often want to share parenting responsibilities as much as possible. But have you and your partner actually sat down and discussed your thoughts on parenthood, parenting plans and what you both mean by being good parents? Is it about you doing half the diaper changes? Will you be expected to assist with feeding? And what about sharing the sleepless nights? This stage of the pregnancy, when your partner is starting to feel better and more energised, is a good time to bring up topics such as this and establish some parenting plans together. Sit down together to compare your expectations of what things will be like once the baby is born. Make plans about what sort of support you can provide to make her life easier in those crucial first few weeks; and ask her for her own thoughts about parenthood and your role as a father. Any differences of opinion – and there are likely to be some, for example what 'good parents' mean to you – should be resolved sooner rather than later. So don't leave it to the end of the pregnancy when your partner will be feeling tired and probably rather fed up.

Plan Ahead

Spend the time you have together looking forward to your baby's arrival, trying to imagine what daily life will be like with the new addition, and discuss the parenting plans and how the family responsibilities can be shared out. Get into the habit of helping out – around the house more – doing more of the cooking and mucking in with other types of housework – this will also be a part of parenthood. It's good practice for the future, and shows her that you're serious about becoming a father. Remember, motherhood is already affecting her day-to-day life, and while it is hard for you to share her experience of pregnancy, being sensitive to her changing needs will bring the two of you closer together.

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