Parenting Life

A Dad’s List of Terms Expectant and New Dads Should Know

I like being a very involved dad. I enjoy fatherhood immensely and was quite interested in learning about pregnancy and infancy. The process of pregnancy and infant development are just things I find fascinating. Having two kids now beyond infant age, I recently reflected on all the terms I learned through those years. Here is a list of key terms I believe all expectant and new dads should know (go ahead and quiz him).

Of course, there are A LOT of other important pregnancy and infancy terms. The terms on this list are ones I felt are more common and useful to know.

Note: I purposely do not fully define the terms below. The point is to put in the effort to understand the terms and fully learn about them yourself 🙂

Terms Expectant and New Dads Should Know

baby blues and postpartum depression – These are similar but not the same thing. Either way, dads should be aware of these and not downplay them as they affect lots of women.

baby led weaning – An approach and method to feeding your baby.

baby wearing – Find the way that works best for dad.

Braxton Hicks contractions – Dads should understand these and not mistake them for true contractions.

colic – Fussiness that moms and dads will quickly hate.

co-sleeping – Like it sounds, it’s sleeping together with your baby. (Note: Co-sleeping is not recommended during the first few months).

doula – A trained professional that helps a a woman through childbirth. We used a doula for both our sons and I recommend considering one, especially if you intend to have a natural birth. You can read my post, A Dad’s Doula Story And Why You Should Consider One, if you’re interested in my detailed experience.

infant versus convertible car seats – Be sure to know the differences and the pros and cons of each. Dads need to learn how to put them in safely (and take them out).

jaundice – A common condition in newborns that is nothing serious the vast majority of times but still something you should know.

meconium – Something to do with poop.

Moro reflex – A normal and healthy reflex that can be fun to see.

placenta – A woman actually grows a new organ? What?!?

SIDS – Definitely an acronym dads should know including the best practices to minimize it.

skin-to-skin – An important bonding practice with many benefits. Yes, dads need to do this too!

sleep regression – Just remember that it will pass…

sleep sack – Basically a wearable baby sleeping bag. Moms and dads probably wish they could just crawl into one and take a nice nap break.

stages of labor – Important for dads to know to support mom during the labor process.

swaddling – Wrapping your baby so she feels secure. Mastering swaddling can be a bit of a challenge. Don’t worry though. They sell swaddles with velcro.

vitamin k shot – Likely the first shot baby will get after birth.

wonder weeks – While this term may sound nice or even fun, it’s often actually a pain in the ass for parents.

Breastfeeding Terms

If mom plans to breastfeed baby, these are terms expectant and new dads should know.

cluster feeding – Feeding a lot in a a short period of time. Dads should understand the mental and physical drain this can take on mom in order to support her as best as possible.

colostrum – An amazing substance a mother’s breast produces before traditional breastmilk comes in. It’s full of nutrients and antibodies for baby.

lactation consultant – Dads should know that there are experts to help mom with breastfeeding…and encourage mom to seek this support if needed. Of course, you can Google search for one in your area, but a good resource is the US Lactation Consultant Association’s directory search.

latch – How the baby attaches his mouth to the breast for breastfeeding.

let-down – A mom’s uncontrolled physical reflex that triggers the release of breastmilk.

mastitis – An infection that can become serious and require medical attention.

nursing pillow – Dads should be prepared to help get this frequently for mom.

Share Your Thoughts

Are there other common and important terms you would add to this list? Do you have any comments or questions? Please feel free to share by commenting below. Thank you!

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