Your role as a parent - for dads and partners

Your baby’s arrival will bring exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, changes to your daily life. Here’s more about how to navigate your new world of parenthood.

Your baby’s arrival will bring exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, changes to your daily life. You and your partner will be spending a lot of time looking after your baby, which can leave you with little time for yourselves and each other. Working together and supporting each other can help.  

Read more about changes to your relationships.

Becoming a parent

You may feel unprepared for being a parent at first. But try not to worry. You and your partner will work out your own way of doing things and you will learn to trust your instincts.

It’s well known that birthing parents go through physical and emotional changes that help them adapt to becoming a parent. But non-birthing parents also experience some changes.

Men’s testosterone levels may fall as they focus on caring for their partner and baby.  New dads’ brains also adapt after the birth. These changes promote different parenting skills in mums and dads. 

Birthing parents and primary caregivers tend to focus on caring for and protecting their babies while non-birthing parents and secondary caregivers help their babies play and develop social skills.  

Going back to work

You may be going back to work full time after your parental leave ends. Or you may be sharing leave with your partner or looking after your baby full time.

If you’re going back to work, talk to your partner about how you will share the workload at home. Try not to take on too much or you won’t be able to keep it going. At the same time, think about how much your partner is doing. If you’re finding it hard to juggle work and home life, think about what would make things easier.

For example, you could start work earlier so you’re home for bath time. You can ask your employer for flexible working to change your hours or work from home. ACAS has more information about flexible working.

Baldwin S et al (2018). Mental health and wellbeing during the transition to fatherhood: a systematic review of first time fathers’ experiences. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports 2018; 16(11): 2118-2191.

Meijer WM et al (2019) Challenging the challenge hypothesis on testosterone in fathers: Limited meta-analytic support. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2019; 110: 104435.

Rajhans P et al (2019) It takes two! Exploring sex differences in parenting neurobiology and behaviour. J Neuroendocrinol. 2019; 31(9): e12721. 

Review dates
Reviewed: 17 June 2022
Next review: 17 June 2025