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Dad-to-be asks for advice to support his wife during labor and Twitter delivers

An expectant dad asked people to share the most helpful things their partners did for them during labor. Here's what they said.

Dad-to-be asks for advice to support his wife during labor and Twitter delivers

When it’s time to welcome a new baby, the experience can be just as surprising and overwhelming for the supporting partner as it can for the person who’s actually going into labor. That’s why expectant dad Dave Whiteside took to Twitter recently to ask his followers a very important question: What’s the best way for a partner to support someone during labor and delivery?

In a viral tweet, Whiteside shared that he and his wife is expecting their first baby. He said he wants to support her during labor in the best way possible and is ready to take notes on how to do that. He asks parents who’ve been through it: “What is the one thing your partner did, said, or brought to the hospital that really helped you through your birth experience?”

Experienced parents delivered for Whiteside in a big way. In just a few days, his tweet has been liked more than 4,600 times and received hundreds of replies. For parents who are getting ready to welcome their own little bundles of joy, here are some of the most helpful, honest and hilarious responses:

9 ways to be the most helpful partner during labor

1. Be your partner’s advocate in the delivery room.

First and foremost, the labor support person is there to support, listen to and advocate for their partner, many people said.

“The most frustrating part of all three of my births was that the medical professionals stopped treating me like a person,” one mom writes. “I was an object, my baby was the person and I had no energy to advocate for myself. Speak for her. Represent her needs.”

Another person adds that the most important thing her partner did during labor is “believed me that something was wrong when the doctors and nurses didn’t.”

2. Take care of all the little things.

Whether it’s a snack, a back rub or a DJ to handle the labor and delivery playlist, parents agreed that the support person should be prepared to handle all the little details that keep the birthing parent happy and relaxed.

“I made a labor playlist for my various stages of labor. He took care of all of the music set up (speaker, charging, linking, etc),” one mom writes. “Also, [he brought] really good lotion for me with minimal to no scent.”

3. Be present.

“Just be present,” one person writes. “Stay off your phone/Twitter. Offer to get her snacks, drinks, etc. During my long inductions it was nice to just watch Netflix with my husband and feel like we were there together and [it was] not just me getting induced.”

4. Take on food duty.

People often can’t eat during labor, but many people advised Whiteside to stock up on his wife’s favorite snacks for the post-birth hospital stay. Some even said to make a plan to get his wife’s favorite meal post-delivery so she can chow down on something comforting and delicious.

“Something I wish we’d done differently: have some sort of snack or food available for her after,” one mom writes. “I was in labor a long time and couldn’t eat. By the time I gave birth, the kitchen was closed and that one small turkey sandwich was not really enough for what I had been through.”

“What’s her favorite meal?” another person asks. “Have it planned out for after delivery.”

5. Poop talk is off-limits.

Pooping during labor may be normal, but that doesn’t mean birthing parents want to hear about it, one doctor says. “Chapstick! Phone charger. Snacks for after. And don’t tell her if she poops,” she instructs.

6. Handle baby care from day one.

Newborns need care, but the person who gave birth to them is recovering, too. That means it’s important for the labor support person to step up to the plate. As a bonus, one mom says, taking on a fair share of baby care also ensures that new dads are able to bond with their babies right away.

“[My partner] took over bath time from day one. Became the expert,” one mom writes. “It gave me space to rest, but it also became an important way for him to bond with our son. I think finding jobs you can do, like meals and clean up, is really important. But building your own unique bond is so important too.”

“I didn’t change a single diaper while we were in the hospital,” another mom adds. “He [my partner] did all of them and then handed the baby to me to feed. He also did almost all the overnight diaper changes while he was off, so all I had to do was feed.”

7. Prepare for moodiness.

Giving birth is hard, and many warned Whiteside to be prepared for some very normal frustration, grumpiness and even annoyance.

“Don’t be surprised if everything you brought to help her is reject in the moment,” one person writes. “My dear hubby tried to help and say nice things, but in the heat of labor I just wanted everyone and everything to leave me alone!”

Another person warns, “Don’t ask questions or speak during a contraction unless it’s words of encouragement. Don’t take anything said during labor to heart. Be so incredibly patient. Advocate for her. If she can’t go with the baby if baby has to leave the room, you follow the baby!”

8. Take notes.

Doctors and nurses provide so much information throughout the delivery and recovery process, but someone who is tired from giving birth probably doesn’t have the focus needed to take it all in. For that reason, parents say, the labor support person needs to be taking notes on things like recovery tips, medications and breastfeeding.

“Be responsible for her aftercare,” one mom writes. “If a doctor comes in and says, ‘This medicine every x hours,’ write it down, give her the medicine, remember to ask the nurse for it if shifts change.” Also, go out for takeout. There is no law that she has to eat hospital food.”

A former nurse and lactation consultant adds, “Don’t leave the room or go on your phone when the nurse comes in. Listen to what she’s teaching because likely mom is so tired she won’t remember what we said. Video record the RN swaddling [the baby] so you have a tutorial on your phone.”

9. Celebrate your partner.

Your partner just birthed a brand new human. That’s a big deal! People told Whiteside to not only celebrate his wife, but also to keep cheering her on and paying attention to her needs in the weeks and months to come.

“Focus your attention on her after the birth,” one doctor writes. “Tell her how amazing she is for doing it, and ask how she is feeling. Not just in the minutes after, but for days and months after, too. All attention, including the mom’s diverts to the babies once they’re born. Moms are left to recover solo.”