Skip to main content

23 Tips on Becoming a Dad for the First Time

March 24, 2022

First Time Dad Tips

Are you becoming a father for the first time? Having a baby is an exciting and potentially terrifying experience for any first-time dad. If this is your first time being a dad, we’ve compiled a list of 23 tips to calm any of your potential fears.

Although there’s a lot to learn and take in, knowledge is power. Knowing what to expect when the baby comes will help you properly care for your new baby and support your partner during the process.

1. It’s okay if you don’t know what to do

You don’t have to be perfect to take care of your baby. Everyone with kids was a new parent once and had to learn the ropes too. As long as you’re open about learning how to care for your baby instead of assuming you already know everything, you’ll be just fine.

2. Make a plan for your finances

It doesn’t take a wizard to know that babies cost a lot of money. If you’re wondering how you can best provide for your family with this new addition, take some time to really sit down and figure out how the baby will affect your budget. If finances are tight, you may be able to cut back in certain areas and create a budget to make room for the costs of a new baby.

3. Life won’t be taken over by your baby

Yes, you will spend a lot of time with your new baby. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely sacrifice things that are important to you. If you want to spend time with friends, bring the baby along. A good friend won’t abandon you just because you have a baby. Similarly, if you still want to make time to hit the gym, for example, talk to your partner and see if you can create a schedule that allows each of you to have a little alone time each day.

4. You’ll need to plan for alone time

Speaking of alone time, you may be wondering whether it’s even realistic to assume you’ll have time to yourself. Life will certainly look different with a baby, but you can still find ways to have some time to yourself. The easy solution is to tag-team with your wife or partner. If you need some time to yourself or want to enjoy time with friends, simply trade off watching the baby. If you both have a little time to rejuvenate, moments with your baby will be that much sweeter.

5. You will get uninterrupted sleep eventually, just not right away

Sleep is a major concern for many first-time dads. New babies don’t have an established sleep schedule, which means you won’t be getting as much sleep in the beginning. However, you and your partner can trade off the responsibility of night-shift baby care. This trick can help you both feel refreshed more often!

6. Bonding with your baby is just as important for dads as for mothers

Babies have a close bond with their mothers. After all, they spent nine months in their mother’s womb. But, that doesn’t mean they won’t also bond with their dads. Don’t be afraid to put in the work to bond with your new baby. If Baby cries, don’t just hand them off to mom. The more you comfort them, the more they will bond with you.

7. Your spouse will not forget about you

Your partner will love your new baby, and once you see Baby, you will too. You and the baby are two different people in your partner’s life and they love each of you.

8. Complications for the baby are possible but unlikely

Many new dads worry that something will be wrong with their baby. This is really just a fear of the unknown. Knowing the probability of birth defects and complications may help you realistically face what could happen and also quell any irrational fears.

9. Baby things will be everywhere

Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean your home needs to be suddenly taken over by baby toys. Make a plan with your partner and set aside spaces specifically for baby gear so that your home doesn’t feel too overwhelming.

10. You will make new friends

You won’t lose all your single friends, but you will almost certainly make new friends in the same stage of life as you. Embrace the Dad phase!

11. Focusing on a baby and a career is possible

Balancing parenthood and a career can be tough on a lot of new dads. You want to have a good career and take care of your family, but in doing so, feel like you will miss out on actually spending time with your children. If your employer is flexible, see if you can start work earlier or later in the day to spend more time with your child. It’s worth asking…the worst your employer could say is no.

12. Think about taking paternity leave

The first few weeks after childbirth is a time in your child’s life that you will never get back. Make sure you establish your paternity leave with your employer early on, so you both know what to expect once your new bundle arrives.

13. You will have a heightened awareness of your own mortality

Becoming a father can make you reconsider doing risky things. When you’re young you don’t often consider the danger (or potential consequences) of your actions. But once you’re a dad, you realize how much your child needs you. It’s not uncommon for new dads to give up activities they consider risky.

14. If you grew up without a father figure, you’ll get to be the father you never had

If you grew up without a father, or had a father that impacted you in a negative manner, being a dad for the first time will probably bring up your own set of personal challenges. Don’t be afraid to be your own person; here are some great tips on becoming a father if you don’t have a father figure of your own.

15. You won’t drop the baby

Don’t stress! Dropping your baby is actually a common fear. As long as you learn how to hold the baby properly (which is easier than you think), you’ll be totally fine.

16. You’ll be worried about safety

You may worry about your child eating something bad for them or taking a tumble and getting hurt. Check out these safety tips to help new parents keep little ones stay safe.

17. It helps to get the baby used to a bottle

Getting your new baby used to feeding from a bottle becomes incredibly helpful when you and your partner need to trade off feeding in the middle of the night. Your partner will feel more rested, you’ll feel like you can equally contribute, and that will make the whole family happier.

18. Feeding your baby can be a challenge

Some babies eat like champs while others struggle with food. If your baby is unhappy with his or her food, there could be an underlying issue like acid reflux or an upset tummy. Finding out what is making your baby grumpy will help everyone enjoy their meal.

19. Learning how to co-parent will be important

It’s no secret that babies thrive on consistency. Because of this,you and your partner will need to work together to establish routines and structures for your baby. And once those routines are developed, you’ll both need to be on the same page to stick to it. Since you and your partner were most likely raised differently, be sure to talk about your expectations for raising your child.

20. Don’t worry, you can help your spouse through labor

Surprisingly, 80% of men are worried about being present while their partner is in labor due to the abundance of bodily fluids. The best thing we can tell you is that you’ll be ok. If you need to look away or step outside for a moment, then you should do so. If you’re mostly worried about how to be supportive during labor, there are some great resources available on the best ways to help your wife or partner through labor.

21. You’ll need to provide support for postpartum depression

For nearly 1 out of 7 women, postpartum depression and anxiety is a very real issue after giving birth. As a supportive partner, you may feel the urge to help fix things, but that’s probably not the answer. First and foremost, make sure mom gets the medical help she needs. Psychology Today has some excellent tips on how to best support your wife or partner if she’s struggling with postpartum depression.

22. You’ll likely worry about the health of your wife and child

Childbirth has a well-known history for being the leading cause of death for women. Thankfully, that risk was much more prevalent in the past than it is nowadays, largely in part due to modern medicine. If you’re worried about your wife’s health, just know that most women and children are totally healthy after childbirth. Not only that, but if any complications arise, there are excellent medical professionals all around the country.

23. The unexpected will happen

Despite all the preparations you’re making as a first-time dad, you will still encounter things that nothing can prepare you for. Just remember that the unexpected can and will happen. As long as you’re aware of that, you’ll already be more prepared than most.

Being a first time dad and meeting your new baby for the first time is exciting! Although we aim to provide parents with information to make them feel empowered and less fearful, trust us when we say that there’s only so much you can learn from books and websites. Once Baby is around, your instincts will kick in and you’ll grow into an amazing father to your new bundle of joy!

Author Bio

Channing Merrell

Hi! I'm Channing and I'm a proud member of the Owlet team!