Brian Salmon was a 19-year-old surfer dude in L.A. when he assisted as coach for his friend’s childbirth. “It was a humbling experience to witness and assist the birth of a human being, just amazing,” says Salmon, now dad to Daisy, 9, and Eva, 14.
The life-changing experience led him to open two ultrasound clinics and become a doula, birth mentor and certified lactation counselor. Yes, you read that right. Now the Dude-la (his nickname) is on a mission to help other dads navigate the birth and breastfeeding path.
Based on his “Rocking Dads” pregnancy and childbirth course, Salmon wrote the recently released book, “The Birth Guy’s Go-To Guide for New Dads: How to Support Your Partner Through Birth, Breastfeeding & Beyond.”
He asked friend and colleague Kirsten Brunner, a relationship and perinatal mental-health expert, to collaborate with him. “He wanted to take it to the next level and add in emotional health and relationship pointers,” says Brunner, mom of two boys.
“This book is really great for moms as well,” says Salmon, whose conversational style makes it a fun and informative read.
At the beginning of the book, he equates planning for a baby for 10 months before go-time and then 18-plus years (“or 35,” he quips) with a preseason football team devising its playbook.
The practical guide contains nine chapters of modern-day survival tips for expectant dads and birth partners, and covers preparing to become parents, childbirth, breastfeeding and bringing Baby home.
Each chapter has “birth guy pointers.” Salmon’s favorite is on page 104, where he describes the three C’s patients might encounter in birthing staff – compassionate, cranky and/or complacent. “I like it because it ties in the ‘bring a gift for the staff birth-guy pointer’ and it also helps soften stress or disappointment if they get the bad two C’s and offers a solution-based suggestion,” he says. “If they get the great C, then they will be even happier they did not encounter the others.”
Salmon says his daughters have been influenced differently by his career. “Daisy is a birthy breastfeeding know-it-all,” he says. “She has assisted teaching breastfeeding class with us and was a hit. On the other side, my 14-year-old says that because of my job she does not want to get pregnant and birth a child! She says she’s adopting.”