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Getting Help at Home

Every mother-to-be hopes that her mate will be a father worth bragging about: deftly changing diapers, warming bottles, and heading out with the baby for weeknight strolls. Of course, great parents are most often made, not born. Chances are, your partner has spent less time planning for the baby than you have. Here's how to gently nudge him in the right direction.

Start early.

Whenever possible, bring your spouse to obstetrician appointments, take childcare classes together, and even have him talk to the baby in utero. The more involved he feels during the pregnancy, the more involved he'll be when the baby is born.

Send him to school.

Many hospitals offer fatherhood classes that cover everything from putting the crib together to bathing a wiggly baby. They also clue dads in on what mom will need after the delivery. "Many new dads think that all babies do is eat, poop, and sleep, so it's hard for them to help," says Jeff Jones, Ph.D., psychologist and instructor of "Basic Training for Dads-to-Be" in Solana Beach, California.