With a new baby coming, all eyes are probably on the mother—but wait, who’s that in the background? Tall, itchy beard, kind of familiar, wasn’t he at Thanksgiving? Oh, right, that’s Dad! Fathers take on a lot more responsibility in parenting than the public eye lets on. They’re responsible for half of the love that goes into raising a child. Here are a few tips to point new dads in the right direction.

  1. Schedule regular father-baby days out. At times mom might overpower you, so show your baby you’ve got perks, too.
  2. Make staring contests a part of playtime. Babies are fascinated by our eyes, and prolonged eye contact builds trust.
  3. Skin on skin contact is a must. Newborns crave what’s warm and familiar—plus it’s another reason to show off your hot dad bod.
  4. Let them touch your hair. Yes, there might be some pulling at first, but they’re just getting to know one of the most important people in their life.
  5. If board books aren’t your thing, read something you like—sports scores, New York Times book reviews, Mad Libs puzzles, you name it! Your voice will comfort your baby, and you’ll be just as engaged.
  6. Bring them with you! Small and still unable to walk, newborns are entertaining company on a grocery mission or a trip to the bank.
  7. Volunteer to change diapers. Not only do dirty diapers make for intimate one-on-one time (nothing says ‘close’ like poo), but volunteering will also lead to a stronger relationship with your partner.
  8. Snap photographs with an actual camera, not with your smartphone. Your future kids (and you!) will treasure a physical album a lot more than a Facebook album.
  9. Invest in a cordless, rechargeable compact vacuum. As meals transition from liquids to solids, so will the debris on your carpets.
  10. Embrace deep breathing exercises. You’ll need them when the crying and lack of sleep catches up to you.