I held my first-born before my wife did. He was passed to me under her crouching body like a rugby ball in a scrum and as I held him, my first thought was: "Please don't drop him."
That precious bundle. That tiny, fragile body. In my clumsy hands. It was no time for Butterfingers.
That was eight years ago now, but I was still a bag of nerves when our second son came along.
Thankfully, though, I'm not alone. For according to a new survey, 60 per cent of new dads feel anxious holding their new baby for the first time.
The research, revealed that:
• A third of fathers don't know how to hold their baby for the first time.
• For 20 per cent of dads, the first baby they will ever hold is their own.
• It takes a fifth of dads one week on average to feel comfortable holding their little one, whereas most mums (62 per cent) feel it is a natural instinct from day one.
• Forty per cent of new fathers aren't left alone with baby until at least one week old.
• Four-fifths of dads cover the night feed and cuddles, which is when father and baby start to bond.
Now Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure, which commissioned the research, has teamed up with father-of-two and ex-England rugby star Ben Cohen to create the Cuddle Mastery Guide.
Endorsed by the British Skin Foundation, the guide helps to give new parents confidence in how to cuddle, comfort and soothe their little ones.
Ben said: "Cuddling is one of the best ways to form that bond with your new-born child.
"As a father to twin daughters, I know it can be intimidating when you first meet your little one, but spending that quality time with them learning how to cuddle and reading up beforehand really helps to increase your confidence."
Jean Robinson, British Skin Foundation trustee and children's dermatology nurse said: "The quality of early parent-baby relationships influences your baby's subsequent physical and mental development, so it's very important to get it right from the beginning.
"Babies who are given lots of cuddles and love and affection may find stress or anxiety easier to deal with as they grow up."
Michelle Bacon from Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure said: "We want fathers to feel supported and excited to cuddle their new-born, which is why we have created the Cuddle Mastery Guide, packed full of tips and examples.
"Every good cuddle starts with soft, clean and gentle fabrics, so using a fabric detergent and conditioner designed for sensitive skin is key."
To download the Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure Cuddle Mastery Guide or share your cuddling tips visit Facebook.com/comfortzoneUK
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