Becoming a first-time dad can conjure every emotion – from unbridled to joy to understandable nervousness. Mom may be doing the heavy lifting for a while, but it’s a good idea to prep yourself for your growing family. Whether you have a few baby-wrangling skills on hand or if you’ve never held a newborn, the Dallas area hosts an array of classes, groups and resources available to first-time fathers.
Basic Training for New Dads
Texas Health Resources offers a handful of birth and baby care courses for expecting parents. While the majority of classes have Mom as the focus, the quarterly held Basic Training for New Dads is the go-to course for new dads to learn the ropes of fatherhood.
The baby boot camp is led by Dr. Richards of Walnuthill Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates and pediatrician Dr. Simon. Both are experienced fathers and offer their medical and real-world expertise to new dads.
This class has a bit of twist from regular baby care classes. No women are allowed (or are at least they are encouraged not to participate.) Moms are asked to let dads attend the class solo. What exactly is taught in the class is a mystery to outsiders.
“Generally, it’s about a dad’s perspective of pregnancy with a little bit of medical knowledge. It teaches what a dad’s role is during delivery…other than that we don’t know what happens behind closed doors,” says Texas Health Hospital course programmer Jill Johnson.
Baby Care Basics
Many expectant dads worry about their inexperience with babies. Thankfully, there are few course options that lay down the basic of childcare.
The Baby Care Basics class offered by Texas Health Hospital is a great option for new dads wanting to learn or brush up on their baby care skills.
The class is hands-on: swaddling, bathing and temperature-taking are among the basics covered. Messy diaper training is provided as well, often with the surprise of a mustard-filled diaper waiting for a lucky class participant.
The basic course is a good option for dads who don’t know where exactly to begin with learning baby care. Both moms and dads are welcomed to enroll and participate.
Happiest Baby on the Block
Calming down an agitated newborn is tough work. Soothing is a necessary skill for not only mom but dad too. When your baby first comes home, expect many sleepless nights as your child settles into a sleep pattern.
The Happiest Baby on the Block class offed by Texas Health Hospital covers how to ease a fussy baby. Course curriculum includes the S’s of baby soothing: swinging, swaddling, sucking, shushing and sound. All are must-knows for the first few months at home with your baby. They’ll be important to remember when it’s your turn to sooth your child in the middle of the night.
“It is a miracle a worker when you have a fussy baby. Moms and dads both come in as a last resort after not getting any sleep. It’s a very calming class for them to come into,” says Johnson.
Baby fitness classes
Once your baby has arrived and is growing quickly, consider activities that get you and your child active. While “Mommy and Me” activities make up the majority of infant fitness classes, dads are turning out to work out with their little ones.
Fitness classes offer a chance to play and bond with your child in an active environment filled with other parents. Oh, Baby! Fitness in Dallas has seen dads coming along with moms to help out during classes like H2O Baby! Water Fitness.
The only requirement for participating dads is they must join in on the workout. Your child gets to float by your side as you condition and tone in the pool.
The class is for slightly older infants and toddlers. Your baby must be 15 pounds to 24 months to participate in the class and should have strong neck muscles.
Support for dads
If you feel you need a support forum to see you through newfound fatherhood, connect with other dads in your social circles or research dad groups in your community.
“Dallas Dads Group is a community of diverse, fathers who are active in their children’s lives. We hold multiple monthly events throughout the metroplex for both at home and working fathers. Our Dads Night Out events offer opportunities to connect and help each other navigate through parenthood,” says Dallas Dads Group co-organizer Anton Jacobs.
The Dallas Dads have a regularly updated website and Facebook. Look them up to see if any of the meetups and outings are a good fit for you.
The most important thing for new dads to remember is that it’s okay to not be sure what to expect. You’ll learn as you go. If you’re a present, helpful partner and make an effort towards learning, you’ll be alright.
If you have any questions about partner’s pregnancy or how Walnut Hill Obstetrics & Gynecology can support your growing family’s health, contact our office to set an appointment with one of our doctors!