Last weekend I (Ben) went to Boot Camp for New Dads at the hospital’s birthing center. It is a three-hour program designed to initiate first time dads into the world of babies and fatherhood.
They talked about being the “protector” and “gatekeeper” and making sure your voice is heard in terms of what is best for the baby.
For me the most interesting part was the three guys who had taken the class before and came back with their new babies. There were actually four babies in the class since one kid (18 years old!) had signed up as a dad-to-be but then had the baby 3 weeks ago.
He brought his dad with him too. Anyway, the babies ranged from quiet to crying most of the time to vocalizing, and we got to hold the kids and ask questions about their experience.
One dad said he was amazed at how he immediately felt like he could give up anything in his life except his baby. One more thing I discovered from the class was that if you request it, the hospital will make you a lasagna to take home when you leave with your baby. I’ll have to remember that one! We can stick it in the dedicated post-birth-frozen-dinner-freezer we are planning to get later this week.
As for parenting, the class was less about practical matters like handling, diaper changing and burping, and more about being supportive yet assertive and more about the emotional side of things. Of course there was the “don’t shake the baby” segment, which was good to drive home.
Overall I enjoyed the morning, although I would have liked more time to ask questions to the dads with babies. I suppose I’ll have to learn those burping techniques on the fly!