First Time Dads

Happy Father’s Day to all our Cincy dads this month! If this is your first Father’s Day, congratulations! With the arrival of your baby, you’re probably feeling great joy… and great stress too. Being a new parent can be extremely rewarding, but also unexpectedly difficult as well. Read on for a few tips on managing this major life change.

What to expect

Having a newborn will affect your relationship with your partner, your image of yourself, your sleep patterns and your sex life. Life suddenly becomes less spontaneous and more rigid, with daily life planned around the schedule of the tiniest member of your family. Although having a baby is a time of immense happiness, emotions like fear and anxiety can also sneak in. New fathers often worry about finances, feel a loss of independence and wonder if they are “messing up” as a new dad. It’s important to remember that these emotions are normal and new dads should not feel guilty about them.

Bonding with baby

Sometimes connecting with a new baby can be difficult for dads. This is not abnormal, especially if mom is breastfeeding and has that repeated, intense physical bond happening day and night. Fathers can easily feel left out during this time. Joe, a new dad at 29, says, “One of the first big struggles [I had] was feeling included as a father because she [the baby] was so dependent on mom and I wanted to feel useful and involved in that process.” Joe says that by taking initiative in other ways, like changing diapers, making bottles, keeping his wife comfortable, etc. he was able to feel like a part of what was going on. He recommends taking newborn parenting classes as well, saying that “the classes we took were also immensely helpful in preparing my mind for the whole process.”

Do’s and don’ts

Remembering a few simple tips can ease this time of transition and pave the way for establishing a healthy routine and relationship with your partner.


  • Spend time as a whole family, but also allow time just for you and your new baby
  • Share responsibilities with your partner and stand united in your decisions
  • Openly communicate about  how you’re feeling
  • Be affectionate with your baby, showing your love in a way that feels comfortable to you
  • Be patient and have a sense of humor
  • Educate yourself with parenting classes
  • Enjoy this time. No matter how difficult some days (and nights) are, it will go by fast!


  • Worry excessively about being a good dad
  • Keep a tally with your partner of who does what
  • Distance yourself because you feel uncomfortable or awkward
  • Set expectations unrealistically high for yourself or your partner

Mothers and fathers often have different approaches to parenting – and this can be used to your child’s benefit. A “laid back” parent can help balance an overly cautious parent. Find your strengths and use them to create a home that harmonious for everyone. Remember that the most important thing you can give your child is your undivided love and attention. And above all else, enjoy your new role as a father. No other job you have will be more important – or more fun!


Talbert House Fatherhood Project
513-221-HELP (4357)

The Christ Hospital Birthing Center and Childbirth Education
513-585-HUGS (4847)

Beech Acres Parenting Center

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