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Becoming a Dad – Support Options for Fathers

The birth of a child changes the roles in a relationship. In order to function well as a family, both parents take on different tasks. 

Vater mit Kindern

Becoming a father and being a dad – what does it mean?

Studies show that taking on an active role as a father has a positive effect on family health. Your baby needs attachment figures who consistently fulfil their needs. Both the mother and the father can be seen as caregivers by the child. The decisive factor here is how reliably the child's needs are met by the person in question.

How can you build a bond with your child?

Breastfeeding mothers are already very close to their child through breastfeeding. But there are also other needs that you can fulfil as a father. You can be involved in caring for your child right from the outset: your baby needs to be changed and bathed regularly. They have a great need for closeness: you can carry your child close to your body in a carrier or sling. Also try skin-to-skin cuddling with your baby with your bare upper body. All of this promotes the bond between you and your child.

In the first stage after birth, parents first learn to adjust to the new situation. Support each other and spend active time with your child. Then you will get to know your baby's signals and will soon be able to respond well to them.

What role can you play as a father?

As a partner, take over the household and organisational tasks such as dealing with the authorities or making appointments. If you have other children, you can look after them. This way you can take the pressure off your partner and give her time to herself.

Think about how you can spend as much time at home as possible; for instance, take leave, time off in lieu or go on paternity leave. You will receive personal advice on this as part of the Parent-Child Passport.

Even if time is limited, fixed rituals help to build a good bond: try bedtime stories, a big hug in the morning, regular walks or other joint activities.

Where can you find support?

Even if you prioritise the well-being of your child, both parents should also focus on their own well-being and that of their partner. Nobody has to solve uncertainties or challenges alone. Fathers also show strength when they seek support.

Austria-wide services for men's counselling and birth preparation for fathers: Becoming a Dad – Being a Dad – Being a Partner

To prepare fathers for childbirth: Fathers' Tips for Childbirth – Austrian Board of Midwives  and Good Preparation for Childbirth – Austrian Health Portal

This text is aimed at people who identify as a 'father'. Information on rainbow families