Like an Oscar-winning actor, a dad's supporting role is vital – especially in the early days. Here's how to be there for your other half and your gorgeous new baby
Dad's role during labour
- Have the antenatal ward phone number stored on your mobile, ready for when your partner goes into labour. Check the car's tank is full and that you know the route backwards (and forwards of course!). Have a spare copy of the birth plan. Stay calm and in control.
- Hospital parking can be a headache. Find out the score beforehand by phoning or checking online.
- Keep your camera or mobile fully charged, so you can take photos once the baby arrives (and maybe one or two shots of the bump beforehand to remind you both how big it was!).
- Be on standby with your hand (for squeezing) and words of support.
- Save all the important numbers in your mobile and if you're on pay as you go, have enough credit to spread the good news once your baby's born. Facebook and Twitter are also great ways to share the news quickly.
Dad's role in the hospital
- First-time mums will appreciate dad sticking around as much as possible in hospital. Stay within easy reach so you can hold the baby when your partner needs the loo, a shower or a nap.
- Bring in spare clothes, baby bits and treats if your other half is staying in for a few days. There's usually a Tesco Extra somewhere nearby – use the Tesco Store Finder and check opening times. And download her favourite soap if she has an iPod Touch.
- If this isn't your first baby, have a gift from the new baby for each of your older children when they first visit to prevent any jealousy.
- Take in sandwiches, fruit, biscuits and drinks for your partner as a nice change from hospital food. Earplugs are a wise buy for her, too – postnatal wards can get noisy.
- Be her rock – the calm, collected one who's fitted the baby car seat ready for the journey home, and knows how to collapse the buggy blindfolded.
Dad's role back home
- Make sure the house is clean, tidy, warm and welcoming, with a full fridge and food cupboards. The first few weeks with a new baby are a whirlwind, so an online shop at Tesco.com/groceries can be a life-saver.
- Be thoughtful, gentle and kind: your partner may not be feeling too great – physically nor emotionally – so she won't want you getting moody too.
- Watch out for the baby blues around three days after the birth. Your partner may feel tearful and emotional. Don't worry – this only lasts a few days and isn't postnatal depression, but if she's still feeling low in a month, encourage her to speak to her midwife, health visitor or GP. Find out more at NHS Choices.
- Help out in practical ways: go to the supermarket, vacuum the house or bring her favourite snack while she feeds the baby.
- Don't be too hard on yourself – a new baby brings lots of changes. One in 10 men* experiences postnatal depression – speak to your GP if you're worried. Make sure you get the odd undisturbed night's kip to help you recharge your batteries so you can give your partner the support she needs.
* Figure from the Fatherhood Institute
At the hospital stay within easy reach so you can hold the baby while your partner has a shower