Soon-to-be-dad, Dave Whiteside, asked people who have given birth to share tips on how he could ensure a smooth childbirth experience for his partner.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 20, 2023. It has since been updated.
Childbirth has always been a very alienating and confusing topic for new dads. Most of them haven't got a clue about what labor and birth will be like except for what they have seen on TV or in movies. No, you don't step out of the room looking like a runway model after you have just given birth to a little human being. Labor is tedious and excruciatingly painful, and sometimes the pain stays longer than you think it does. The whole process may end very quickly for some, but for others, the baby likes to take its own sweet time. When labor does happen, dads can feel overwhelmed and clueless about how best to help and support their partner. Not wanting to be little more than decor in the labor room, one soon-to-be dad turned to Twitter for advice.
A big question for anyone who has given birth:— Dave Whiteside (@dave__whiteside) January 17, 2023
What is one thing that your partner did, said or brought to the hospital that really helped you through your birth experience? Expecting dad hoping to support his wife in the best ways possible here ready to take notes. 🗒️
"A big question for anyone who has given birth: What is one thing that your partner did, said, or brought to the hospital that really helped you through your birth experience?" tweeted Dave Whiteside, a research consultant in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. "Expecting dad hoping to support his wife in the best ways possible here ready to take notes."
Even after reading parenting books and blogs, Whiteside told TODAY, he and his wife are looking for real-life perspectives. "I thought, rather than hearing from the dads who confidently assumed they nailed it, I wanted to hear from the moms who knew their partner nailed it," he explained.
You can support your partner by supporting the health care personnel responsible for her. Bring coffee and snacks, especially for the nurses and learners, especially if you're there overnight. Sometimes they're even too busy to pee, let alone grab a coffee.— J⭕️nathan Hube℞ (blue checkmark) (@jhubermd) January 18, 2023
Be the person in charge of keeping that insane list of times your baby has pooped or peed or eaten for the first few weeks they want you to keep (if you even do it). I still have that document and it's crazy and I'm so glad my husband was in charge of it bc I could never— Lucy Huber (@clhubes) January 18, 2023
This. This. This. The nurses/doctors immediately go into protect the baby mode and mom usually feels completely ignored and unsupported. Ask if she's hungry. Ask if she's thirsty. Ask if she's cold or needs another pillow. Anticipate her physical needs as much as possible.— ifgoldruste (@ifgoldruste) January 18, 2023
Twitter parents were summoned and as always, they did not disappoint. Some suggest that Whiteside should keep necessities like food, water and a phone charger on him at all times. To make the initial days with a newborn easier on his wife and to spend quality time with their newborn, Whiteside was advised to take care of washing, diapering, and, if necessary, feedings.
Additionally, he was urged to learn about car seat safety before the delivery. "That ride home is going to be the most anxious one of her life," @rachdol tweeted. "Do what you can to feel confident in this one area." People also appreciated Whiteside for his forthcoming attitude in asking valid questions regarding childbirth.
I made a labor playlist, for my various stages of labor. He took care of all of the music set up (speaker, charging, linking, etc). Also really good lotion (for me with minimal to no scent)— Bethany Hedt-Gauthier, PhD (@BHedtGauthier) January 18, 2023
If she communicates that something isn’t working or needs to communicate anything really to the HCWs, amplify her voice with your own, with both kindness and advocacy.— Tyler Olson (@olsonplanner) January 17, 2023
Put your phone away. Step outside to text or make calls. Be fully present when she’s in active labor. Have multiples of everything so that you never run out—constant ice chips, multiple bottles of water, a stack of cool washcloths…— MacKenzie Rossi (@mac_town) January 19, 2023
Whiteside also spoke transparently of the many hurdles they faced with childbirth in the past saying, "We had two miscarriages in 2022 and I spoke very openly about our experiences on social media. Now I want to make sure I speak openly about our experiences with pregnancy too. My wife is more of an introvert, but together, we agree that it’s important people talk about these experiences to help others feel a little less alone." He also acknowledged that he gathered a lot of knowledge from this Twitter survey.
Learn how to soothe your baby. It will probably be different than how your wife does it. Read books, website for tips and tricks. Don’t let your spouse become the default parent. Start the way you mean to go on as an involved parent.— ellell (@laurenlucia) January 18, 2023
"One big takeaway is how important it is for partners to advocate for moms," he said. "And there have been funny reminders of how different people are — some suggested that I write my wife a poem and while I love that this works for some couples, I’m pretty sure she would divorce me on the spot."