My day at Dad’s Boot Camp

Enjoy this post written by Eric Dutkiewicz, digital producer, Parkview Sports Medicine.

No one prepares you for the wide range of emotions and decisions that go with a pregnancy. They extend well beyond any 9-month timespan, that’s for sure. That is certainly true for my wife, Michelle, and me as we prepare for the birth of our first child, a boy, in October. From seeing the first ultrasound, to adding the best car seat to our baby registry, to agreeing on a theme for our nursery, bringing a child into the world has proven to be an exhilarating—yet daunting—experience.

Thank goodness there’s help. With Michelle’s encouragement, I signed up for Dad’s Boot Camp Class, just one of a number of free informational family programs offered by Parkview Health during and after pregnancy. The session explores a variety of aspects of fatherhood, including child safety and basic care.

“Anticipation of the baby’s birth is the toughest part,” the instructor said as he welcomed a group of 15 fathers-to-be on a Tuesday night session in May at Parkview Regional Medical Center. Like me, most of the dads are preparing for their first child. Due dates ranged from as early as two weeks later to sometime this fall.

The course included valuable information on newborn sleeping safety, preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, babyproofing your home, and labor coaching tips. A video showed potential scenarios and gave us the opportunity to discuss the best resolution.

Two new dads who previously took the Dad’s Boot Camp Class returned with their infants to share their experiences. Seeing these men with their sons was a real-life example of the unconditional love a father shares with his child. “There will never be another man on this earth that loves that child like you do,” the instructor added.

Dad’s Boot Camp Class also stressed the importance of being a partner, protector, and provider for the mother.  I learned that something as simple as bringing the baby to Michelle, figuring out a routine that benefits everyone, or scheduling an in-home movie date night can help with her transition from expectant mother to mom.

Now, as a graduate, I encourage any father-to-be to consider the Parkview Dad’s Boot Camp Class. The session not only provided me resources for my journey to becoming a first-time dad; but most importantly, the class helped me create a safer, more-loving home as the Dutkiewicz family grows.

 

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