Jefferson City. Mo. Expectant first-time father Jay Forbis joked about his inexperience with child rearing at a new parenting class for dads at St. Marys Health Center here.
"I'm proud of the fact that in 36 years, I've never changed a diaper," Forbis said, but with a Sept. 9 due date for his daughter's birth, he expects that to change.
With cell phone on hand in case of labor news, Forbis said he looks forward to being a parent and hopes he'll be as good of a father as his dad was to him.
Rookie Dads 101, which held its first class in late August, is designed to teach fathers parenting skills they may not be familiar with.
The class is led by Matt Krause and Mike Huebert, two full-time dads whose wives are doctors. Their own parenting experiences and the medical resources from their wives make the class practical and informative.
Dads now are more involved in caring for their children than ever, Krause said, yet they have few experiences to draw from.
"We don't learn this stuff from our dads," Krause said. "My father wasn't allowed in the delivery room. Now it's weird if you're not there."
Hospital administration added the class to the schedule in response to the changing role of fathers, said Patrick Walker, spokesman for St. Marys.
"This class is going to meet a basic need in the community," Walker said. "As a new dad, this is the tool for you."
Parenting and birthing classes already are offered for both parents, but Huebert said an all-male class environment will help dads feel more comfortable.
"You don't see a lot of guys raising their hands in a regular classroom," Krause said.
Topics include how to diaper, feed, bathe and hold babies, what to plan for in the delivery room and in the first days, car seats, crying, day care and dealing with lifestyle changes.
The two-and-a-half hour class is divided into an hour of lecture, then a break before a second hour of hands-on, small group instruction and, lastly, time for questions.
Huebert and Krause said they expected a slow start before word of mouth got around. Until then, with one person attending their first class, Krause said they might have the best student-teacher ratio rate ever.