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Stanford Medicine

Parenting

Pediatrician offers advice for dads-to-be

When I was pregnant, I always got grumpy when other expecting moms used the term “we” to describe their condition – as in, “We’re pregnant.” It just didn’t ring true to me. My husband may have played a critical role in the production of our daughters, but he most definitely was not pregnant (I have the pictures of his flat belly and un-swollen feet to prove it!), and I cared not to share with him the credit of something that is so uniquely female.

With that said, I imagine it’s tough for dads-to-be: They get way less attention than their pregnant partners and, despite being just as excited/anxious/freaked out as the moms, they’re less likely to ask questions or be given counsel by others. So it was nice to see today a Booster Shots feature that offers – just in time for Father’s Day – advice for expecting dads. I found two of the answers from David Hill, MD, author of “Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro,” particularly interesting (and accurate):

What is the most common misconception new dads have?

I think many of us, or far too many of us, buy into the myth that there are certain parts of parenting at which we are naturally incompetent. I think we get a lot of messages, sometimes from other men, sometimes from family members, certainly from the entertainment media, that we are not going to be good at changing diapers or kissing bob-boos or making dinner, that maybe we are not good nurturers. I think when we buy into those myths, we really sell ourselves and our children short.

What’s the most fun thing about being a dad?

The most fun about being a parent is having one or more new sets of eyes with which to view the world. My kids see things and hear things and think about things every day that I don’t, and when they bring those things to my attention they give me entirely new ways to view the world around me, and that is so valuable. Yesterday one of them spotted a fox at the edge of the woods that I would never have seen. And there are an awful lot of songs on popular radio that I would never know.

Previously: Expectant dads could benefit from support, attention, Fatherhood: a neuroscience perspective and Pregnant male pipefish play favorites
Photo by Michelle Brandt

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