Dad's Love of Baby is Waiting to be Unleashed

You know how all your physical and emotional changes during pregnancy make it impossible to not have baby on the brain 24-7? For guys, connecting with fatherhood happens in a slow but steady build. In fact, the changes he experiences are so subtle (unlike yours – hello morning sickness and belly!) he may not even know it’s happening. Remember, pregnancy gives moms a big head-start connecting with the baby, but for dads, things don’t get as real until baby’s born, but that doesn’t mean he’s not preparing.  

Here’s how it works . . .

You find out you’re pregnant and your hormones start flying—congratulations! Then, just from being physically close to you and reacting to your pheromones, Dad’s body starts a series of hormonal changes to prepare him for fatherhood.

  • PROLACTIN brings out a desire to care for his baby.
  • VASOPRESSIN triggers “family man” attentiveness.
  • CORTISOL keeps him primed and ready to protect his family.
  • TESTOSTERONE is temporarily reduced to help him with patience.  
  • OXYTOCIN sends him surges of love and a desire for bonding.
Dads don’t feel like a dad until the baby is born. At our hospital we had skin to skin time and we did it with my husband too, and it was good time for him to bond.
— New Mom

That’s a whole lot of chemical reactions going on, so even though he’s on a different timetable, nature is working its magic on him. And his slower timetable has a purpose: it helps mellow out your all-consuming focus.

Once the baby is born, an important part of Daddy Brain development is lots of hands-on parenting. When Dad and Baby are together, they build hormonal and neural connections that strengthen their bond. Skin-to-skin contact with baby gives Dad the same rush of oxytocin that you started experiencing during pregnancy. By supporting Dad’s active participation, you’re helping his Daddy Brain reach full-throttle, and we hear it time and time again at Boot Camp: Dads love it and want more!

Before the baby is born:

  • Remind yourself you’re in it together. Dad is also going through big changes to prepare for baby.
  • Set the intention to encourage Dad’s hands-on involvement. Allowing him maximum bonding time has huge benefits for baby and you.
  • Remember your differences are your strengths. Dad’s brain is uniquely designed to complement yours.

Rest assured: Dad may not be knee-deep in childcare books or itching to test-drive strollers, but his Daddy Brain is definitely getting into gear.