The Second Month of Fatherhood

by Bruce Linton, Ph.D.

dad and baby talkingCongratulations you have made it to month two of fatherhood. The first month of fatherhood is occupied by adjusting to your new situation. The changes in your schedule and routines, settling into how and when your baby needs to be fed, changing diapers and giving baths, trying to get enough sleep, communicating with your wife in your new roles as parents.

Many new fathers comment on how wonderful and difficult that first month is. Your baby is still small and helpless but by the second month you may feel a difference as you hold him. He may seem to be more of a person.

In the first month, like you, he was just adjusting to his new situation, now the difference between waking and sleeping is more defined. Your baby is much more active and alert when he is awake. Your baby is starting to observe more about the world around him. As his father you may also begin to notice the changes he is able to perceive. Your baby can probably tell the difference between you and your wife. He can deepen his attachment to you as you hold and sooth him. Perhaps you are able to distinguish whether he is crying for food or because he needs a diaper changed, or has gas?

You may find yourself feeling very stretched by trying to balance both family and work responsibilities. There will probably be times when neither home or work is getting enough of your time. It may even feel like it will always be like this. Be patient over time and as your baby grows and you and your wife gain more confidence in your parenting you"ll find how to make the adjustments you need to feel less overwhelmed by your changing schedule. You and your wife may find that if you just surrender to your baby's schedule, especially in the evenings it may reduce the tension that is created when you try to get a two month old baby to bed "on time."

Here are here are a few practical tips that new dads have shared with me to get the most out of your 2nd month of fatherhood:

For your baby:

  • Continue to hold your baby as much as possible. Find time when you can be with your baby without distractions.
  • With your wife, the two of you together give your baby a bath. Talk about what you baby seems to need to make him comfortable getting washed.

For your wife/partner:

  • Tell your wife what you appreciate about her "mothering."
  • Find time when you can take the baby and she can take time just for herself.

For you:

  • Talk about the change you are experiencing in trying to balance work and family life with your wife and friends.
  • Try to find other new dads to talk with about the transition to parenthood. Often you can contact the men who were in your prenatal class or friends who might be willing occasionally to share their experiences of fatherhood.

Bruce Linton, Ph.D. is founder and director of the Fathers' Forum programs for expectant and new fathers. He is a former contributing editor to "Full-Time-Dads" magazines, and columnist for Parents' News in San Francisco, California. He is the author of Finding Time for Fatherhood. Bruce is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and received his doctorate for his research on men's development as fathers.

Copyright © Bruce Linton. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.