In a recent post, I talked about what to bring to the hospital when you’re having a baby. Basically, my list is all for you, because all the baby needs is you, and a car seat. The hospital provides nearly everything else. But I didn’t discuss the baby’s father, who will a) not be in labor, and will therefore be bored and hungry and b)need to conceal these facts from his laboring significant other who is waiting for her epidural and not allowed to eat. What is the etiquette for fathers and other birth attendants? This post is for you guys.
The Golden Rule: Keep the Nurses Fed
A well-fed and appreciated nurse is a kind and helpful nurse. Once your baby-mama is tucked into her room, you need to get busy. Pizza, donuts, and bagels for the labor staff are all appreciated and will give you a valid excuse to leave the room briefly and catch a few scores. Get some food for yourself too. Do not eat it in front of mama. Do not eat the garlic bagel or the pepperoni and onion pizza, as she will detect it on your breath and resent you further.
If She’s Breathing, Don’t Try to Instruct Her
Lamaze breathing is a distracting technique to make you think you’re helping her until the epidural can be done. Lamaze coaches will tell you it really works. Laboring women will tell you it really doesn’t. Epidurals really work. Which brings us to…
It’s Okay to Bribe the Anesthesiologist
If it’ll get her an epidural faster, a nice Cabernet or a pair of Jets tickets would not be amiss. When I was in labor for the first time, my anesthesiologist was trapped by a tree that had fallen across his driveway during the Nor’easter that night. I sent my husband over to his house with a chain saw.
When Filming the Birth, Stand at the Head of the Bed
You really don’t want to look at that during your next family gathering right? Stand at her shoulder, aim over the drape sheet across her knees, and make it a G rated film.
Your Favorite Restaurant Will Do Carry Out
No matter how snooty, chefs can hardly resist letting you carry out one of their delicious meals to a new mama. Tell them what it’s for, and order her favorite meal. Bring a bottle of chilled champagne and smuggle it all into the room. If you fed the nurses appropriately, they should turn a blind eye.
Finally, Let Her Name the Baby
She just gave birth, and she’ll call it what she wants anyway.