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Men's Health

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Birth of a Father

Boot Camp for Dads

Facing the Fear Factor continued...

The idea for Boot Camp was sired about 12 years ago, when founder Greg Bishop, father of four and sibling to 12, noticed that most men just didn't seem to enjoy their babies.

"Virtually every man out there wants to do the job, but it's tough transition from 'guy' to 'father' and there are very few sources of information," says Bishop, a Boot Camp coach at the Irvine Medical Center in Irvine, Calif.

But that's changing. Boot Camp for New Dads has received a grant to work with PROJECT JUMPSTART to join with healthcare providers and community organizations to develop ways to reach, orient, and equip men to meet the challenges of fatherhood.

For example, in some hospitals, nurses are taking new dads to the nursery and walking them through the process of changing diapers and bathing the new infant, while the moms recuperate from delivery.

"If a lot of obstetric nurses did that across the country, men would be much more comfortable with newborns," Bishop says.

What to Expect When You Are Expecting

With its own type of basic training, Boot Camp for New Dads helps expectant fathers get ready for dadhood.

"Classes are a combination of rookies and veterans, with the veterans doing most of the talking," Bishop says. "The real experts on new fathers are the new fathers, and having them relay their experience works best.

"Moms usually sign the dads up, and they come before the baby is born -- usually in the last trimester -- then they come back with baby at two months as veterans," he adds.

That's the path Barrette followed.

"It was cool to revisit everything after having had the child and to be able to share and discuss what a couple experiences postpartum and how the nature of the relationship changes after the baby is born," Barrette tells WebMD.

"The biggest issue is that relationships take a big hit when that baby comes along," Bishop says.

In fact, 20% of marriages decline seriously when the baby is born, he says; 30% decline somewhat, 30% stay the same, and 20% improve.

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