How Men’s Bodies Change When they Become Fathers

https://parenting.nytimes.com/health/fatherhood-mens-bodies

As an anthropologist who studies human fatherhood at the University of Oxford, I’ve run up against a widespread and deeply ingrained belief among fathers: that because their bodies haven’t undergone the myriad biological changes associated with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, they’re not as biologically and psychologically “primed” for caretaking as women are.

As a result, they feel less confident and question their abilities to parent: Will they be “good” parents? Will they bond with their babies? How will they know what to do?

As my own personal and professional experiences dictate, the idea that fathers are biologically “less prepared” for parenthood is unlikely to be true. Much of the role of parenting is not instinctual for anyone. (I remember the steep learning curve of those first days of motherhood — learning what each of my baby’s cries meant, mastering the quick diaper change and juggling the enormous amount of equipment necessary just to make it out the door.)

And while the biological changes fathers undergo are not as well understood (nor as outwardly dramatic) as those of mothers, scientists are just beginning to find that both men and women undergo hormonal and brain changes that herald this key transition in a parent’s life.

In essence, being a dad is as biological a phenomenon as being a mom.

(click link at top to read on nytimes.com)

8 Self-Care Tips for New Parents

http://mommysbliss.com/8-self-care-tips-new-parents/

Imagine sitting up in your bed nursing your babe at 3 am. Quietly looking out the window, while your partner sleeps blissfully next to you.  Your baby coos and finally drifts off to sleep.  You gently place your sweet little baby in the bassinet next to the bed, simultaneously saying a prayer for a successful transfer.  It worked! Now your eyes close.  Dreams enter.  And then, not five minutes later, baby cries and you do it all over again.  Sound familiar?

How about this one?  Home alone with your darling baby.  You offer a bottle.  Baby, with a full belly, spits up between your breasts all the way down to your elastic waistband and you realize that you are desperate for the shower that feels so far away.

I could create a million of these scenarios with a million variables. Older siblings, twins, single parents, visiting family, social pressures, public places, you name it.

As a parent, doula, educator and lactation support person, I hear and see new parents regularly with their shoulders hovering somewhere around ear height.  If not fully at the end of their rope, they are darn close to it.  And why?  My guess is because we are constantly hammered with the idea that babies are more precious than their parents are.  It’s simple really.  We will suffer so our children don’t have to.  Makes sense, right?  They are just babies after all.

But by setting ourselves up in this way, we all suffer, babies too. In the short term and the long.  And, you know what, we know this.  We know that if we are going to take care of others we have to take care of ourselves as well.  We know this because on airplanes, every single time the flight attendant tells us we have to put our own mask on first.  It’s hard though, right?  I mean, how can we put our mask on when we can’t even find it?

(Click link at top to read the rest of this guest post from the amazing Samantha Huggins, Carriage House Birth co-owner and certified intuitive birth doula.)

New Dad’s Advice: Just Hire a Damn Doula!

http://goodmenproject.com/families/new-dads-advice-just-hire-a-damn-doula-jrmk/

So, your partner is expecting a baby. That’s amazing. You’re surely getting unsolicited advice from all angles. Well, here’s another piece for the pile: Hire a damn doula. When my pregnant wife first proposed hiring a doula, I issued my standard response when asked about paying someone to perform a service: Nope, I can do that shit on my own.

Oh, how ignorant I was. The more I researched what doulas do, and the more my attorney wife presented me with rock-solid arguments in their favor, the more I came around. Looking back now, I have no idea how I would’ve made it without our doula.

The dominant American cultural approach to pregnancy, labor, and post-partum care is off-kilter in plenty of ways. We’re the only industrialized nation without mandated maternity leave; and paternity leave is seen as a joke, something for lazy-ass sissies. Also, we don’t take doulas as seriously as we should. If you, as a birth partner, have heard of doulas at all, you may think they’re granola-crunching life-coaches. I’ve noticed some O.B.s seem to have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to doulas, as if not being able to perform a C-section means you have an unimportant place in the birthing process.

But doulas are awesome. They are highly trained, they are highly experienced, and, perhaps most importantly, they have your back.

CLICK to read the rest: http://goodmenproject.com/families/new-dads-advice-just-hire-a-damn-doula-jrmk/#sthash.HJPG6UtI.dpuf