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Becoming a new dad can be exciting, rewarding, and challenging. Many life changes happen to parents with the birth of a baby. Both parents are learning how to parent and how to continue to effectively meet each other’s needs, as a couple, at the same time. There are many new responsibilities to handle. It's important to remember that adjusting to these changes takes time and patience.



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Parent Resources

Becoming a Father

Common Concerns

Mental Health

Becoming a father begins during pregnancy

Preparing for Birth and Parenting a Newborn

Supporting Your Partner

  • Be supportive, patient and a good listener with your partner
  • Show reassuring affection towards your partner
  • Take on the more physically challenging chores, as able, at home during pregnancy
  • Anticipate and make a daily chores list that works for you and your family
  • Prioritize necessary tasks and be kind to yourself when you can't complete everything

Common concerns

Develop a plan and a budget

  • Money worries are normal when a new baby is on the way
  • Review your finances together and create a budget that works for you
  • Look for coupons and sales
  • Buy less expensive items but be sure that they meet the product-safety regulations
  • Search for information about free and subsidized childcare, parenting resources, family centres and so much more

Sex after childbirth

  • Talk about it with your partner
  • Get the “Okay” from your healthcare provider first

Fathers are essential to the lives of their children.

  • You both must be physically and emotionally ready
  • Read more about what to expect the first time and sex after childbirth

Communicating with your partner

  • Make time to talk with your partner
  • Physical touch can be reassuring
  • Remember why you fell in love
  • Accept the fact that your life will change
  • Making a positive change takes work
  • Set priorities
  • Ask questions if you do not understand. Don't make assumptions
  • Be honest, attentive, and open
  • Talk about your concerns, feelings, and worries
  • Take a “time out” from discussion with each other if either of you become frustrated
  • Come back to discuss at an agreed time in the future
  • Acknowledge that you both think differently and that is okay
  • Find out what your partner needs

Mental health is an important part of health and well-being

  • 10% of men experience postpartum depression and even more can experience anxiety
  • The perinatal period is the time from pregnancy to childbirth to the first year postpartum (the first year after the birth of your baby)
  • When dads experience depression, it doubles the risk of behaviour and emotional problems with their children
  • Whether you’re a new dad or a not-so-new dad, taking care of your emotional well-being is important; it positively impacts your relationships with your children, and others in your life
  • Your relationship with your child is the foundation of their emotional well-being too. Poor mental health in the perinatal period has a negative impact on the infant’s mental health

Dads can experience mental health concerns differently than their partners

  • Dads experience some of the same symptoms of depression and anxiety as their partners and they can also experience some different ones; knowing the symptoms can help you to know when to reach out for help
  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety can include: feeling irritable, angry, sad, depressed, and physical symptoms, such as headaches, poor concentration
  • Some dads find that they withdraw from relationships, or work a lot more or a lot less
  • Some dads have thoughts of suicide or become more impulsive and take risks; an increase in substance use, like alcohol, is also common

Your mental health

  • Be aware of emotional changes you experience
  • Ask questions and express any concerns to your healthcare provider
  • Find ways to decrease stress for yourself and your partner
  • Talk with other new parents and ask them what works for them
  • Make time to talk with your partner or someone you trust about how you are feeling and any concerns you have
  • Reach out for help if you are struggling; know that you are not alone

Take care of yourself

  • Connection is the key! Connect with other dads, friends, or family members for support and understanding
  • Take some time to relax, nap, exercise, eat healthy food, and do the things that you enjoy
  • Accept support from others; don’t be afraid to ask for help with meals and laundry from family and friends
  • Trust yourself
Date of creation: February 14, 2013
Last modified on: October 17, 2023


124 HR Cribside Assistance For New Dads (2019). The baby manual for fathers. Toronto, ON: MacMillan Press Retrieved from
2Soleyn. D. (N.D.). Six Crucial Steps For Dads To Improve Their Emotional Health. Dad Central. Retrieved from
3Soleyn. D. (N.D.). Why Prioritizing Your Physical Health Matters as a Dad and How to Do it. Dad Central. Retrieved from
4Eldemire, A. (N.D.). 4 Key Issues for New Parents and How to Solve Them. The Gottman Institute. Retrieved from
5Eldemire, A. (N.D.). The One Conversation That New Parents Need to Stay Connected. The Gottman Institute. Retrieved from
6Nobody’s Perfect. (February 27, 2019). Parents: Your Feelings After Your Baby is Born (Dads). Government of Canada. Retrieved from
7Dad Central. (N.D.). What You Need to Know About Fathers and Mental Health. Retrieved from
8Horsager-Boehrer, R. (2021). 1 in 10 Dads Experience Postpartum Depression, Anxiety: How to Spot the Signs. Retrieved from