When my wife and I were pregnant with our first child, I read somewhere that we should talk to the kid before delivery day. So in the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I’d position myself at my wife’s belly and talk. I don’t remember what I said, but I wasn’t shy. Sometimes I even held up headphones and played the kid some music. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and we’d know in a few years if the kid liked the music we played. (We forgot to find out definitively, but these days Jeremy is really into music.)

Anyway, after Jeremy was delivered, I went with him into the recovery and footprinting room. He wailed and wailed, and who could blame him? I didn’t know what to do—I was a brand new dad, so I had no clue how to comfort him. Instinctively, I leaned down and simply started talking, using Jeremy’s brand new name and giving his brand new ears a chance to hear his brand new dad’s voice. And then it happened.

Jeremy stopped crying. He turned to me. He looked at me. He knew my voice. He recognized me. In that moment, Jeremy and I bonded. And four years later, I did this whole thing again with Ian. Same result.

Every dad’s first moment is unforgettable, no matter what it looks and feels like. But if you’re about to have a kid, take my advice: Do what I did. You’ll thank me later.

—Tony Buchsbaum