You’re a New Dad—Now What?

6/13/2013, 9:18 p.m.
First-time fathers experience many emotions: love, responsibility, protectiveness and even fear.

Tip #8: Live with imperfection. No one is perfect. Neither are you. Being a parent is a new adventure. Learn from your experiences and talk to other dads to gain other perspectives. As long as you provide a safe, nurturing environment for your baby, you will learn how to become a better parent. A good resource for new parents, especially mothers, is text4baby. Simply text "BABY" (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 receive three free text messages a week, timed to the mother’s due date or the baby's birth date, through pregnancy and up until the baby’s first birthday.

Tip #9: Keep good records. It’s important to ensure you have key information that you will need to refer to throughout the years. This includes your pediatrician’s contact information, as well as the baby’s immunization schedule, birth certificate, and Social Security Number. By gathering this information early and updating it regularly you will be prepared when it is needed most.

Tip #10: Enjoy today. It may be cliché to say that they grow up fast, but it’s true! Learn to enjoy this unique time in your baby’s life when the most basic things—riding in the stroller, watching a ceiling fan, or trying new foods— are both new and exciting. Looking at and experiencing things as your child does can give you a whole new appreciation for life.

“Learning from other fathers and sharing your own experiences results in children who have more engaged, positive relationships with their dads,” says NRFC Kenneth Braswell. “The larger the circle of caring adults the more likely children will know that they are loved.”

While you may be a new father, fatherhood is a lifelong commitment. The NRFC offers practical tools and resources to provide guidance at every stage of your child’s development. For more information, visit: www.fatherhood.gov or call 877-4DAD411.