by Nellie Shani
4/10/2010 / Parenting
When a new born baby comes into a home, there usually has been no rehearsal. You are given that tiny little person and firmly told by the doctor to take it home! I still remember how overwhelmed I was at the fact that I played a major part towards the survival of that little bundle of joy! Something I also realized was that my husband also played a major part towards the survival of our son. Breast milk, diaper changes and burps were not the only needs that our baby had. He needed to bond with his Mum and Dad and to grow up in an environment where he felt loved and accepted by both parents.
Just before I got pregnant, my husband and I discussed the fact that we were ready to be parents. We bought a book on pregnancy and parenthood which we both read and discussed. We agreed while I was still pregnant that we would both be involved in bringing up our baby. I did not know how well I succeeded until one day three babies later, when my husband was counseling my younger sister who was contemplating marriage. She told me that my husband had told her that one thing he appreciated about me was the fact that I had let him be involved with each of his three babies. Let me share in retrospect some of the things that we did, that culminated in my husband not feeling left out.
1). I attended classes on child-birth and during the last session, we were told to bring our husbands. They were told that they were going to be our coaches during labor and delivery. I saw my husband's face light up as they were told how important they were going to be in the success of this process. Hence my husband was by me, helping me breath as I went through labor (epidurals were non- existent then). I think that the baby, my husband and I bonded as I bit him, scratched him and bent the metal railing on my bed into two equal parts.
2). I shared with my husband about the insecurities and fears that I had as a new mother. I let him know when I did not know what to do and we figured together what we needed to do for our baby. I still remember when our second child had a problem digesting her milk. She would wake up every hour with stomach cramps. We read together Adelle Davis' book called "How To Raise healthy Children." It was there that we found out that giving her a small teas spoon of yogurt just before breast feeding introduced a culture in her stomach that helped digest the milk. It worked like magic and all three of us slept better.
3). We celebrated together all the major changes in our baby's development. My husband was the first to know when anything happened in the baby's life in his absence. I would not call my sister or my best friend first.
4). My husband was involved when he was around, in the practical aspects of caring for our baby - nappy changes, feeding, burping. The only thing my husband did not do when they were babies was bathing them.
I was not surprised that with each of our children, their first word was "Dha dha" and not "Mahmah"
Nellie Odhuno Shani is a Counselor, Conference speaker and writer. Her first books are available on amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles and on her author's websites.
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