Fathers matter to their children.
There is a link between high father involvement and children who:
- have good mental health
- get better grades in school
- cope better with stress, disappointment and frustration.
Like some new mothers, some new fathers do not feel an instant love for the new baby. You’re not alone. Most new fathers go through a time of confusion and adjustment. It isn’t easy, but it’s normal. These suggestions might help as you learn your own style of fathering.
Take care of your health.
Taking care of your partner and your baby takes strength and energy. Eat well and stay active.
Support and respect your partner.
This is a time of change for you and your partner. Your baby will not sleep through the night for several months. A new baby nearly doubles the amount of housework to be done. At this time of change you’ll need to talk to each other about sharing responsibilities and about how you feel.
Talk about your feelings.
Being a father takes time. If you’re feeling tired or lonely or worried or left out, tell your partner how you feel. Pick a time when the baby is sleeping. Don’t be surprised to find that she feels the same way. Talk about what’s bothering you. Listen to what’s bothering her. Once you’ve got your feelings out in the open, you can begin working things out together. This isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort.
Be an active, caring father.
Get involved. This makes dads and babies happier and healthier. The more you put into being a father, the more you get out of it. Do your share of the everyday work of looking after the baby. Make an effort to spend time alone with your baby, through activities such as walks and baths. Let your baby get to know Daddy.
Accept that nobody’s perfect.
You’ll make mistakes—lots of them; so will your partner. Everybody does. Don’t worry—trial and error is how you learn to be a parent. Never be afraid to ask for help.
Face the fact that life will be different from now on.
This doesn’t mean that it will be worse. Getting used to so many changes can be difficult and exhausting. Right now, it’s easy to get bogged down in the inconveniences of a new baby. But it’s not all bad. Your new life as a father will also hold joy, satisfaction, and a deep sense of purpose and pride. So relax and grow into your new life. It’s true that life will be different. But so will you.
Learn about how your baby will grow and develop so you will know what to expect.
All parents need to learn about how a child grows and develops in order to be a responsive parent. You may be surprised at how much you already know about your baby.