Archive for June, 2012

Dad to be Here are 5 Top Tips for bonding with your baby

There is so much in the media about the importance of skin to skin contact between mum and bub immediately after birth.  Recently there has been research into the benefits of dads bonding with their babies.  Dr Richard Fletcher, Leader of the Fathers and Families Research Program at the University of Newcastle conducts regular research into fathers and the important role they play.

As doulas, we witness this scenario every time we attend a birth. So if you don’t have someone to guide you we have set out 5 top tips that you, as a dad to be, can do to get the bonding process going with your baby.

1.  Dad to be prepare for the birth

Like one of our DadSkills dads, Richard, states,” Prior preparation prevents piss-poor performance”.  If you are calm and present at the birth you will be more open to supporting your partner and therefore more ready to be involved in the care of your baby.  DadSkills’ online childbirth classes will show you the way.

2.  Dad to be get involved at the birth

Your partner is going through a huge physical, emotional and mental change (you will experience the mental and emotional change too) so you will need to know how to support her.  Again, DadSkills’ online childbirth classes will help with that too.  We don’t just mean catching your baby.  Maybe that’s not your style.  You will need to figure out ways that you feel comfortable getting involved.  Your support may just mean “being there” like the husband of Karee (who features in DadSkills).

3.  Dad to be don’t be shocked if you don’t feel immediately bonded to your baby

Some dads do and some don’t.  I recently attended a birth where the dad received his baby and put his little boy onto his partner’s chest the whole time saying, “This is real, this is really real!”  Later on, he said he was just so shocked that it was happening, he never thought the day would actually come.  Some dads to be find it hard to connect with their baby during pregnancy when all the changes are happening to their partner.  It’s not until the baby is born that they can do this.  Don’t worry, it will come and the more involved you are with the hands on care of your baby the more bonded you will be.

4.  Skin to skin with you and baby

It’s very important for skin to skin contact to happen between mum and bub in the first hour after birth wherever possible.  But there will come time when you can have skin to skin too.  If she needs some stitches or if she needs to change positions to birth her placenta or even have a shower this is YOUR golden opportunity to have skin to skin.  If you haven’t already, take off your shirt, pick up your baby (babies like a firm touch so don’t be shy, or ask for assistance from the midwife) and place a blanket over the two of you.  We are constantly amazed at how settled babies are when they are held by their dads.  The trick is keep them close to your skin while having them covered in blankets especially their head.

5.  Bonding at home

Research shows that mums bond with their babies by having skin to skin contact, breastfeeding and gazing into their eyes.  Dads bond with their babies by being physically active with them.  So this means lots of hands on care (and, yes, including changing the nappies), holding them to settle them, talking to them, and going for walks – slings are great.

DadSkills hopes that you will embrace the fact that there are so many ways that you can bond with your baby.  Happy bonding.

Here’s one of our favourite images – bub was born by caesarean and mum was finding it hard to hold bub so dad took the initiative for some skin to skin in theatre.








antenatal classes – prenatal classes – childbirth classes – online childbirth classes – dad to be  –  dads to be – pregnancy classes – birthing classes

Dad to be Here are 5 Top Tips to Support Breastfeeding

We all know breastmilk is the best nutrition for your baby.  What’s not often recognised is that it might not be as easy as you think it is going to be.  As doulas and childbirth educators, we are delighted when a baby latches on to the mother’s breast and sucks contentedly.  Most often though there is some getting used to this new skill.

DadSkills has come up with our list of the 5 best things a dad can do to facilitate breastfeeding.  All the research shows that support from the father is a huge contributing factor in how successful a mother is at continuing breastfeeding.

1.  Know that breastfeeding can take up to 6-8 weeks to become fully established

This sounds like a long time but it really is about mum and baby getting to know each other, how to attach to the breast, how to get a full feed and how to settle baby once fed.  Once breastfeeding is established, your partner may be able to express which means you can help with feeds and give her a break (if that is something you would like to do).

2.  Be supportive and encouraging

During the early stages, your partner may become tired and frustrated.  If she knows she has your support then she is more likely to keep going.  Many dads can feel a bit left out while she is establishing breastfeeding.  This time will soon pass so just acknowledge how you are feeling and look to point 3!

3.  Get practical

You may find that she doesn’t leave the couch for hours.  So make sure she eats and drinks often.  Help with the washing and cleaning.  If she needs a break then take bubs for a while – this is your special time to bond with your baby while she gets some much needed rest.

4.  Protect her from negative comments

Even the most well meaning mother, friend, sister, etc can have a devastating affect on a woman who is trying to establish breastfeeding.  So if there is someone who isn’t helpful, either find them something to do when visiting or put them off for a while.

5. If she is struggling – get some help!

Seriously!  Often mums feel like failures and are reluctant to get the help they need.  And it often only takes a visit to set them on the right track.  Firstly, check to see if there is a lactation consultancy service at your birthing facility.  This may well be covered in your antenatal classes so ask the question there.  There are many community-based lactation consultant services like the one at Community Midwifery WA in Perth, Western Australia.  There are also private lactation consultants who you can see.  Other breastfeeding help services include the Australian Breastfeeding Association or the La Leche League International.

This is a great way for you to support your family and help everyone get off to the best possible start.


childbirth classes – online childbirth classes – antenatal classes – prenatal classes – pregnancy classes – birthing classes – dad to be – dads to be

Dad to be will you do a good job at the birth?

In Cath and Sally’s combined childbirth education experience this is probably one of the most asked, or hinted at, question from dads. We have found that a lot of dads feel this way and are either concerned that their partners will get upset or that they will look stupid in front of everyone if they ask these questions in antenatal classes. It’s usually not until we are alone that the dad to be will bring this up.

DadSkills wants to bring it out in the open. Most Dads are at least a bit concerned about how they will go in the labour room. Nothing wrong with that, it’s perfectly normal. After all, it’s not often you get asked to support someone you care deeply about through such a huge event with little, if any, formal training or idea what to expect. Most of the childbirth classes held where women are birthing really don’t recognise the father-to-be’s role in this very important occasion.

There are three main ingredients for being a good support partner:

1.  Education about birth

You don’t need all the ins and outs but it will help to have an understanding of the stages of labour and what to expect.

2.  Education about good birth support

You need specific education about how to support a woman through labour – not necessarily all the medical mumbo jumbo.  You need to know how to help her through the intensity of labour, you need to know what you can do to help her with pain coping and how to advocate for her and for your baby.

3.  Address your own fears

In order to support your partner well, you need to find a way to deal with the intensity of birth yourself.  If you are worrying, you are producing adrenalin – and believe it or not, adrenalin is ‘catching’ which means it won’t be long until she is producing adrenalin – and adrenalin in the first stage of labour makes it hard for the body to do its job.

DadSkills has been specifically developed with these things in mind.  With over 10 years supporting women and learning the best ways to show dads-to-be how to support their partners during labour, DadSkills online childbirth classes are full of all the hot tips that show men specifically what they can do to help labour progress and go as smoothly as possible – as well as how to look after themselves in the process. The added bonus is that DadSkills online childbirth classes answers all the questions dads want the answers to. Finally, as a back up we have a contact page just in case there is another question that you need answering.

Don’t leave it to the big day and plan to just ‘wing it’. Make the effort to learn what you can, it doesn’t take long and you can have a really positive impact that will have flow on effects into parenthood.

I’m so glad I knew what to do. Leading up to the birth I wasn’t sure but on the day I was prepared and I would be kicking myself now if I hadn’t learnt how to support my partner properly. ~ Dan from Scarborough




childbirth classes – prenatal classes – antenatal classes – online childbirth classes – dad to be – dads to be – pregnancy classes – birthing classes

Children at Birth

This can be such an emotive topic!  It seems everyone has an opinion.  From “What on earth would you expose your children to that for?!” to “All children should have the opportunity to witness their sibling’s birth.”

So where do you sit on that line?  Have you thought about it?  What are your initial thoughts?

Here are some frequently asked questions and our views.

Can we have our child/ren present?

In most cases, siblings at hospital births are a no-go due to hospital policy. It’s a good idea to ask at the hospital antenatal classes if this is an option.  Some birth centres have the facilities to allow other family members to be present, including siblings.  Home is the ideal environment to have children present because you set the rules.

How do we know whether or not it would be a good thing for our child?

This is where it comes down to your individual discretion.  You are the only ones who can make that decision.  Use your instincts on this one.   Older children can express to you either way how they feel about the idea.  Younger children need the decision made for them.

A calm birth environment where they can be free to come and go as they want to is important.

Will having our child/ren present work for my partner when she is in labour?

Great question.  It all depends on the age and nature of your child

Do you have a child who is going through a “clingy” stage and just wants Mum and is your partner worried that she will not be able to labour well with a child who needs her attention?

Regardless of the age of your child/ren, does your partner feel that she can feel uninhibited and free to do what she needs to do to birth her baby?

Is it really important to your partner for your other child/ren to be nearby as she labours?

What if we want our child/ren present but then we find during the birth that it’s just not working out (for either my partner or my child/ren)?

Always have a backup plan!!  This is the most important factor in planning to have children at the birth.

Your backup plan needs to include bringing someone else into the birth space.  (See our video Can I bring a family member to support birth? – free to view for one more week.)  This extra person is to be there solely for the child/ren and needs to understand their role as such.  This person needs to feel comfortable with birth, respect your wishes and be willing to take the child/ren elsewhere if the need arises – and this person needs to be someone your children feel safe with. You may even think about hiring a doula whose sole purpose could be to assist with the child/ren.

Is there any way we can prepare our child/ren for the birth?

It is a really great idea to spend time talking with your child/ren about the birth.  It is can be very useful for your partner specifically to talk with your child and introduce your child to noises she may hear Mum make during the birth (in a fun and relaxed way).  Your partner can “practise” having contractions and being silent or breathing or being vocal for around 60 seconds, and then relaxed and calm the next so that your child gets a feel for how labour goes.

One book that comes highly recommended for preparing children for birth is Hello Baby (also under the title Welcome with Love) by Jenni Overend.

I was blessed to be present at the birth of my friend’s third daughter at home.  Her other daughters were 3 and 5 at the time.  During the labour the girls had their own space with special things to do.  The 3 year old wanted to go and see Mum at one stage but it wasn’t really the right time so I helped her through that.  Then before we knew it, their newest sister was really on her way.  The 5 year old came into the room for the birth.  The 3 year old stayed in the other room for the birth, but came into the room very shortly after.  It was all very calm and the girls were free to come and go as they wanted to and it worked really well – and I have to say it was very special to be a part of.


antenatal classes – prenatal classes – childbirth classes – dad to be – dads to be – online childbirth classes – pregnancy classes – birthing classes