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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad Is Eager to Do Everything Right for His Baby Daughter

DEAR ABBY: I'm a married father with a son 19 months old, and a baby girl on the way. While I couldn't be more excited about my daughter's impending arrival, I'm unsure about whether there is a right time to stop doing things like changing a diaper or seeing my daughter unclothed because she's a girl and I'm not.

I come from a conservative family, but because this is a new experience for me, I'm not sure how to go about it. I know this dynamic changes when these roles are occupied by a mother and her son, and that a little boy is probably older by the time the transition occurs. I don't want to end up in a position where my wife or daughter regrets my involvement in some aspects of my daughter's life. Any thoughts? -- EXPECTANT DAD IN NEW YORK

DEAR EXPECTANT DAD: Fathers have become far more involved in child-rearing in recent years than they were in generations past, and it's a wonderful thing. You should not be worried that changing your daughter's diapers or giving her a bath will scar her emotionally. In fact, the opposite is true. Discuss this with your wife and your daughter's pediatrician, and I'm sure they will allay your fears.

As to when you should stop seeing your daughter unclothed, you have years before that may become necessary. As she becomes aware of her changing body, she will probably let you know, or her mother will. This is a cultural thing. Some families practice a naturist lifestyle without anyone being "damaged" by it.

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