Being a great dad

Get to know your baby so they can bond with you – it is as important for your baby as it is for you. Spending time with your baby will also help your partner.

Being a great dad
Kids need their dads, but dads are often at a loss to know where they fit in to the picture. You are the adult who has the task of providing for and protecting your whānau in the early days, so use that time to be together as a whānau. 

Here are some tips for being a great dad. 

Get to know your baby

There are lots of ways to get to know your baby. Your baby will recognise you if you spend time with them. You could:

  • smile at, talk to, read to, sing to, cuddle and have fun with your baby
  • soothe your baby when they are crying
  • change your baby’s nappy, dress them or give them a bath
  • put your baby to bed at night – and make this part of your baby’s routine.

The most important things you can give your baby are your love and your time.

Support your partner

Life with a new baby is busy – for both mums and dads. It will take your partner a while to recover from the birth – and she will need your support. Talk to your partner about how you can help with the baby and around the house.

Take time to be with each other as a couple. Your partner needs to know that she is still special to you as a person, not just as a mum.

If your partner’s acting strange or obviously not coping, it could be postnatal depression (men can get this too). Get help early – talk to her and your midwife, nurse or doctor.

Support for you

If you find you’re feeling stressed or not coping, there are many ways to get support:

  • talk to your partner, whānau, friends and colleagues
  • talk to other dads and share your experiences – one way to do this is to join local support groups for dads
  • check your local library for books about being a father
  • talk to your doctor or nurse or call PlunketLine on 0800 933 922.

Related websites

Great Fathers
A website for men with the aim of all New Zealand children having the best possible start in life. The website has tips and tricks for dads coping with life with a new baby. 

A dad's survival guide – SKIP
A new dad’s toolkit for baby’s first few weeks. Includes information about caring for mum and baby, sleep and crying. 

Father and Child Trust
Information and support for New Zealand dads. 

Fathering: the best job on the planet – Plunket
About being a father. Includes information about a father’s role, fun things to do with kids, support for dads and supporting mum.

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