The device that helps dads-to-be get involved when the baby kicks

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 Photo: Getty Images

A new product being trialled in Scandinavia hopes to put paid to the idea that only mum can be involved and engaged with a baby during pregnancy. 

The smart wristband, which is being developed by diaper brand Libero, has been designed so that each time the baby kicks or moves, Mum can 'buzz' Dad to let him know.  

By pressing a button on her wristband, a vibration is send to the father. The length of time that the button is held by Mum will reflect the duration of the baby's kick.

The Libero band lets mums-to-be buzz dads when the baby kicks.
The Libero band lets mums-to-be buzz dads when the baby kicks.  Photo: Libero Babybuzz

The idea behind the wristband is to help minimize emotional distance during pregnancy and strengthen the bond between parents and baby before it is born. 

But can it really work?

Kylie Lannan, a midwife, thinks so.

"In my experience some men definitely feel left out and a little jealous of not being able to bond with the baby while their partner is pregnant," she says. 

"It often results in them feeling like the third wheel and 'useless', and they disengage from the whole situation, which can then be seen by the woman as him being disinterested and not caring about their growing baby."

Lannan says that comments she hears regularly from expectant dads include "I can't be of help", "I'm useless" or "I've done my bit".

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For these dads, a baby 'buzz' could create a more positive experience for both parents.

"It would allow dad to be a part of the day-to-day movements and patterns a baby has, and would also help in creating more of a team approach to parenting," she says.

For those dads who are already embracing the pregnancy, Lannan says something like this would only add to the experience and make it more exciting.

"In many cases it would be a positive thing and could even create more awareness for the mother if the baby was not as active as usual or their normal pattern of activity was altered," she says.

Psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip echoes Lannan's sentiments.

"Certainly a pregnancy is a woman's experience, so any way we can include the father is beneficial."

"Currently dads sit on the sideline attending to the requirements of their female partner and see everything from an external perspective. This new device would enable them to become more inclusive."

While Phillip likes the idea of the wristband, she believes that a device placed on the stomach would allow a more natural experience and feeling of the baby kick.

"Then maybe we can add a device to include sickness, discomfort, back pain and swollen ankles, to give them a real feel of a pregnancy," she jokes.

In lieu of such a device, Phillip says there are numerous natural ways for a man to feel included in the pregnancy.

As well as attending all medical appointments and ultrasounds, Phillip suggests rubbing the mother's stomach to become connected to the baby, feeling the baby kick or hiccup, speaking to the baby, and telling the baby about their family and how much they are looking forward to their arrival.

"Research tells us the more connection both parents have to their unborn baby by talking, laughing and storytelling, the better it is for the baby," she says.

To any man currently feeling left out of the pregnancy, Phillips recommends discussing your feelings with your partner so she can understand.

"It's imperative to come up with a solution on how they want to be involved and feel more part of the process," she says.

"It's one thing to talk about the problem, but it can quickly be resolved if a solution is involved."