Dave Whiteside, a father-to-be from Ontario, Canada, asked Twitter for tips about how to support his wife through her upcoming labor and delivery, and the helpful responses came rolling in. The viral Tweet, posted on January 17, quickly drew thousands of likes and hundreds of comments from supportive Twitter users.
A big question for anyone who has given birth:— Dave Whiteside (@dave__whiteside) January 17, 2023
What is one thing that your partner did, said or brought to the hospital that really helped you through your birth experience? Expecting dad hoping to support his wife in the best ways possible here ready to take notes. 🗒️
Both first time parents, Whiteside and his wife aren’t sure what to expect—so after talking through what kinds of support she already thinks she’ll want during and after labor, they turned to social media to source some answers from people who have been through it before.
One tip that lots of folks echoed in the comments was to manage all of the record-keeping that comes along with having a baby. Between remembering when she’s due for pain meds, being able to communicate with healthcare professionals about what she’s been experiencing, and keeping track of all of the new baby’s first bodily functions, there’s a lot to keep track of!
Be the historian. Write down everything / journal for her! So much of my birth is hazy/foggy to me because I was in so much pain but it was helpful that my husband knew what times things happened, exactly when she got the epidural (or whatever), even just for processing it later!— Hayleigh Colombo (@hayleighcolombo) January 18, 2023
Be the person in charge of keeping that insane list of times your baby has pooped or peed or eaten for the first few weeks they want you to keep (if you even do it). I still have that document and it’s crazy and I’m so glad my husband was in charge of it bc I could never— Lucy Huber (@clhubes) January 18, 2023
16 years post partum rn and current Lactation consultant: don’t leave the room or go on your phone when the nurse comes in. Listen to what she’s teaching bc likely mom is so tired she won’t remember what we said. Video record the RN swaddling so you have a tutorial on your phone— tammy encinas (@tammyencinas) January 17, 2023
Be responsible for her aftercare. 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.— Laura Norkin (@inLaurasWords) January 18, 2023
Speaking of takeout—lots of comments urged Whiteside to be prepared with plenty of snacks.
Snacks. Good ones. Lots of them. It sounds ridiculous, but after I delivered, I was famished. And at 3 am, when no one was around and I couldn’t drag myself from bed, it was nice to have a duffel bag full of them handy. Chips. Juices. Chocolate. Sweet, savory–all of it.— Lea Goldman (@lea) January 18, 2023
Something I wish we’d done differently: have some sort of snack or food available for her after. 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.— Amanda Deibert (@amandadeibert) January 18, 2023
Some commenters emphasized the importance of advocating for his wife during the process.
He believed me (that something was wrong) when the nurses and doctors didn’t.— Lauren Gambill, MD MPA (she/her) (@renkate) January 18, 2023
Advocate for her! Birth can be scary and there is a lot going through someone’s mind. Remind her to eat and drink after delivery. Don’t feel stupid asking questions of the healthcare providers – you will be thankful for it. Practice using the car seat, research car seat safety— Ashley LEH-GAH-SICK (@ashleylegassic) January 18, 2023
A few folks had some wisdom to share regarding the best ways Whiteside can emotionally support his wife through labor and delivery—and well into the postpartum period. From the time the baby comes into the world through the “fourth trimester” (the months when you’re back at home recovering with your new family), there is still a lot of healing to do and adjustments to get used to.
Focus your attention on her after the birth. Tell her how amazing she is for doing it & ask how she is feeling. Not just in the minutes after, but for days & months after too. All attention, incl the mom’s, diverts to the babies once they are born. Moms are left to recover solo.— Tatiana Prowell, MD (@tmprowell) January 18, 2023
I mean this in the most loving way possible: silence. In addition to the physical challenges, birth is very mentally taxing and he knew when to be quiet.— Nina Jankowicz (@wiczipedia) January 18, 2023
Also, as others have said- being the main diaper changer, pump part/bottle washer, and stuff lifter postpartum!
And one dad had some good advice about what NOT to do…
The TV was on in the birthing room, and the doc and I started talking about the Celtics game. I do not recommend that you do that.— Joe Nocera (@opinion_joe) January 19, 2023
Whiteside shared with Today what he felt was the most memorable advice from his Twitter thread: “One big takeaway is how important it is for partners to advocate for moms.” He and his wife are expecting their baby on March 27.