Getting Dads Ready for the New Arrival

You always hear about everything moms need to do to get ready for the new arrival, but what about dads? Like new moms, new dads also go through a lot of adjustments.

Alfonzo and Lovie Branch have one child, and another one on the way. Alfonzo says having children is a big adjustment. "Having a baby in the house, period. That's something I wasn't used to. I found that it was a little easier than I thought. We adjusted pretty quick, had to." An adjustment that Alfonzo and Lovie, had to make 14 months ago when their daughter Ayanna was born. "I had to think about what we're getting into," Alfonzo says. "Proper planning, make sure this is paid and make sure we can get this and that."

Now, Alfonzo's doing that all over again. He and Lovie are expecting their second child, a son, in early April. He's dealing with the normal things all new dads go through. LaToya Robinson works with the Fatherhood First Program at Bootheel Healthy Start. She says, "Just another person in the household, another mouth to feed, just hormonal changes in mom, just the stress of having a baby, those are things new dads go through." The Fatherhood First Program helps dads-to-be with life skills, job readiness, and father nurturing, things Alfonzo's passed with flying colors. Lovie says, "He's great with our daughter. He gets her up in the morning, gets her dressed, gets her fed and bathed, so that's a really big help with me already working." "I spend so much time with her, and we do so much with her. Just the thrill of having her there and playing with her all the time is great," Alfonzo says. LaToya Robinson says that fathers, like Alfonzo, who spend time with their children is all that matters. "Just be there, be as supportive as you possibly can, and do all that you can do assist mom and mom, likewise do all you can do to assist dad, because it can be a very big change."

Here are some facts on fatherhood. Boys are more likely to be involved with criminal activity if they're raised in a home without a father figure. Teenage girls are more likely to have sex earlier if they grow up in a home where a father figure wasn't around, and growing up with a father helps boys with anti-social aggression. A dad is the best person to help curb this aggression in boys.