First-Time Dad Confesses He Doesn't 'Enjoy Time' With His Newborn

Not all parts of parenting are rosy and enjoyable.

mom, dad, and newborn baby Nappy / Pexels 

Welcoming a baby is a momentous occasion, one that shifts the trajectory of a person’s life. You’re no longer living just for yourself — you’re living as a parent, to help a tiny newborn creature survive and thrive.

The early days are full of love, but they’re also rife with hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the wide range of emotions that any big change can bring.

A first-time dad revealed that he’s ‘struggling to enjoy time’ with his newborn baby.

The dad wrote to the r/Parenting subreddit, expressing how hard it’s been for him to connect with his weeks-old son. He asked if other new dads felt similarly, or had trouble making a connection with their own babies in those early, tender days of bringing a baby home. 


Currently, his son only wants to feed on demand, which is an entirely normal part of establishing a nursing routine. The dad noted that “the first 2 weeks of his life have consisted of me passing him kicking and screaming to my partner.”

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The dad has yet to feel truly bonded to their baby, explaining that “he just tends to cry and tense up until he gets back to mum.” Despite his efforts to help by soothing him, “nothing seems to work.”

man admits he's struggling to enjoy spending time with fussy newbornPhoto: Danik Prihodko / Pexels 


The dad described feeling useless in his role as a parent, because his newborn son cries whenever he’s holding him. He recognized the duality of the situation, noting, “I’m sure this is all normal and I shouldn't over think it, but I'm really struggling to enjoy time with him.”

He asked if any other dads had a similar experience, and the comments from other parents certainly made it seem like other dads had, in fact, felt the same way at the start.

“Please don’t take it personally,” one parent proclaimed, noting just how normal it is for a newborn to only want their mom at the beginning of life outside the womb. “Your baby is hard wired for survival and right now that means being close to mum and milk!” 


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Another parent echoed the sentiment of being fully in survival mode, explaining that those first few weeks of a baby’s life are reduced down to three things: eating, sleeping, and pooping. They suggested some practical ways that the dad could make himself feel more useful and connected, advising him to do the diaper changes and give his baby snuggles after nursing, when he’s ready to go to sleep.

Other parents gave their thoughts on ways to bond with a newborn, including talking to the baby while he nurses. They suggested that the dad should do other baby-related activities, like cuddling, skin-to-skin contact, and babywearing after his son is satiated.

Another dad affirmed the validity of the new father’s feelings, noting how frustrating and intense the newborn weeks can be.

“Good on you for persisting,” he said, before explaining how he navigated the challenge of the newborn phase, which was to “focus on doing as much as I could for my wife in those early days when baby's need for dad was lower — I knew that my time would come.”


man admits he's struggling to enjoy spending time with fussy newbornPhoto: Helena Lopes / Pexels 

The dad who made the original post responded saying that he’s found it really helpful to focus on what his wife needs, and that his cooking and cleaning abilities have “definitely leveled up.”

The overall guidance from other parents focused on how the early weeks of a newborn’s life are a particularly intense phase, yet a phase that’s bound to change. As one parent explained, “It will be easier to connect as he gets bigger and more interactive.”


A key part of growing accustomed to having a baby is being as flexible as possible, and knowing that the tender newborn phase isn’t one that lasts forever.

As the adage goes, parenting often seems like the longest, shortest time. Soon enough, the dad and his baby will grow connected, as long as he stays present and ready for the changes that will inevitably arrive.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.