Aug 9, 2014

Daddy's Bootcamp: Real men, Real babies, Real advice

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Nobody said being a first-time Dad would be easy. To become confidently engaged with their newborns, supporting their wives emotionally and still yet personally navigate their transformation into dads is one nerve-wrecking business indeed. 

Luckily though, there is an increasingly number of avenues where new Dads can seek support and help - books, magazines, online sites, pre-natal classes at hospitals... and even roadshows targeted at Dads.

Organised by Thomson Medical Centre and Nestlé NAN GRO 3, Daddy's Bootcamp was held last weekend at Compass Point where Dads thronged the Level One Atrium in a bid to pick up some parenting pointers from seasoned speakers.

Well as it turned out, Dads were not the only ones who went down for the roadshow. Their spouses and kids showed up too, with the latter group being completely enticed by the mini-kids Gym and Big Bobby Car Race activities.

Throw in a few challenges like Toddler Crawling Challenge and Stage Quizzes for Dad & Mum, and it just had that fun-packed carnival-like atmosphere at Daddy's Boot Camp.

Of course, the mandatory photo booth never fails to be a hit with everyone.

Oh, and FREE Nestlé goodie bags to the visitors of Daddy Bootcamp too!

And what is a Daddy-centric event without fun contests and stage games for Dads to participate?

One of the Stage Challenges had the Dads trying to coax their kids to smile for the judges. Definitely a task that is not as easy as it sounds, but all done in good fun.

Fun aside, the real highlight of Daddy's Bootcamp was the presence of speakers who were experts in their field of parenting. And one doesn't get any more expert than Mrs Wong Boh Boi, Assistant Director (Clinical) and Senior ParentCraft Lactation Consultant of Thomson ParentCraft Centre.

I first came into contact with her during my pre-natal class with the wifey before Ash was born. I remembered thinking how impressively knowledgeable she is, and that impression was further heightened when she successfully helped the wifey clear several blocked milk ducts when she encountered some difficulty in breastfeeding.

Mrs Wong was on stage to share massage techniques for infants and toddlers, and she even roped in a real-life toddler for her demonstrations.

Because touching is the first communication a baby receives, infant and toddler massage deepens the bond between parent and child. Not only does it have immediate and lasting results, it provides Dads an opportunity to provide a nurturing touch.

And it is good for infants too, as it emotionally nourishes them and helps them feel safe and loved. Plus, it is known to reduce gas, colic and other digestive issues while calming and helping them sleep better. Most importantly though, they really really really enjoy it!

In addition, Mediacorp artiste and Celebrity Mum, Evelyn Tan, was on hand to share her parenting experiences and how she juggles the challenges of family life with her hubby and four kids.

Nothing like learning better through hearing the experiences of other parents, no? Then we will realise that we are not that alone in our world of parental frustrations and exasperation after all.

Together with Evelyn, Mrs Wong shared some tips on the ways to swaddle and carry an infant the correct way. The one other amazing thing about Mrs Wong is that she has that Midas Touch when it comes to babies. Any baby can be crying his or her lungs out but the moment Mrs Wong takes over, that baby almost immediately stops crying. I personally have seen that with my own eyes so yes, she is not called the Baby Whisperer for nothing.

I was really heartened to see quite a number of Dads in the audience, trying to absorb everything that was being shared on stage.

At the end of day, I think I speak for all Dads when I say what we really wish to achieve as a Dad isn't the recognition of a Super Dad.

Rather, it is the wanting to be there from the start, sharing the joys, the responsibilities - getting involved in the process, and keeping ourselves there throughout our child's growing up journey.

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