Being a Dad
The first time you hold your tiny baby, you’ll experience a flood of strange and powerful sensations. These are called emotions. Don’t be alarmed. Focus on that moment, and promise yourself that you won’t ever, ever let the weight of the world rob you of that feeling. —J.L.
Learn the football carry. Tuck the baby’s legs under your armpit, support his back with your arm and cradle his head in your hand. This frees your other hand for carrying stuff, getting things done around the house or fending off would-be tacklers. —J.L.
Don’t be afraid to develop your own parenting style—not your father’s, not your wife’s, but yours. Hint to new moms: Letting us do things our way makes us feel closer to the baby. We know you want that. —J.L
Guys are also susceptible to postpartum depression. Get help—if you don’t, you may sacrifice your marriage. I know because I was close to that point.—Name withheld by request
Put down the video camera. You want to record all those memorable firsts, but let someone else use the camera occasionally so you can be an active participant in making those memories. And get some recordings of you together with your baby, too. —Jeremy Milani, online communication consultant and father of one, Nashua, N.H.
Babies love to learn tricks, and it’s up to you to teach them. Try this one: When your baby starts to develop leg strength, grab both of her feet firmly with one hand and support her with the other in an upright position. Before long, she’ll be standing in your hand without help, to the amazement of friends, relatives and that nice lady from Child Protective Services. Do it over a bed or couch just in case, and be ready to catch her if she tilts. —J.L.
Pick up your child every day. —J.M.
Schedule a daddy-and-baby routine. The one-on-one time spent walking around the neighborhood or just staring at the ceiling fan with your baby will be incredibly nourishing to you—and your wife will appreciate that free hour on her own. —M.Y.
When you get frustrated with your baby for any reason, but especially when he is crying, do two things: First, don’t feel bad; and second, watch your baby while he is sleeping—your anxiety and frustration will immediately dissipate. It even works with teenagers. —Jamie Miller, political consultant, Sarasota, Fla.