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Updated by Rosie Galvez on May 09, 2021
Headline for Tips on Becoming a Father for the First Time
Rosie Galvez Rosie Galvez
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Tips on Becoming a Father for the First Time

Congratulations on your soon-to-be-a-daddy status — and kudos for thinking about how to help your soon-to-be-a-mommy mate once your bundle arrives.


Chip in where you can

Regardless of how Mommy delivers, her body will need time to recover. And breastfeeding is the only baby-care activity limited to moms. Dads can bathe, change diapers and rock with the best of moms — and yes, even better than them. Doing so allows your partner a break from the action.


Share bottle duties

If your partner is nursing, once breastfeeding is established there's more than one way to feed your baby. Although you can't breastfeed, you can be the one to give your baby bottles of expressed milk or formula, which gives Mom a break and you extra opportunities for bonding with your baby. Make the most of the moment by striking a nursing position, with your baby snuggled close and the bottle where the breast would be. Opening up your shirt for skin-on-skin contact will enhance the experience for both of you.


Take the night shift

Share in the early weeks of sleepless nights. Even if you're not giving supplementary bottles, there's plenty you can do: Pick baby up, do any necessary diaper changing, deliver baby to mom for feedings and return baby to the crib or bassinet once the feeding is finished. Not only will you be connecting more with your baby, you'll also be giving Mom some much-needed rest.


Be a bouncer

Friends and family will no doubt be anxious to meet your brand-new baby, but know when to say no…and hold your ground. If you and Mom are wiped out or just not up to guests yet, feel free to (politely) banish newborn visitors. They’ll understand, and your partner will be grateful she didn’t have to be the banisher.


Pick up her shift

It might seem obvious, but here’s an invaluable piece of new-dad advice: Never ask an exhausted new mother, "What's for dinner?" Instead, try, "Hey, what can I fix you for supper?" Parenthood is more than a full-time job for the first few weeks, which means Mom's share of chores will pile up. So pick up the slack on dishes, laundry, dusting, thank-you notes — whatever needs doing, whenever you can.


Don't be a martyr

Even household heroes need help sometimes, so accept assistance whenever it’s offered. Let your folks cook or bring in a meal, let a pal do a load of laundry, let your sister change a diaper or take the baby for a stroll. Most importantly, never turn down an opportunity to grab a nap.

Good luck. Sounds like you’re going to be an MVP (most valuable parent)!

Read more about first-time dads