He stayed calm when you were giving birth and wakes up at 2 a.m. to help with feedings, even when he has to work in the morning. New moms may get most of the credit, but dads have their own share of special powers. Read on for 13 kinds of real-life daddy superheroes.

photo: Eduardo Merille via Flickr

1. The Muscle Man
This dad can balance a baby on his forearm for hours like it’s nothing. Colic? No problem. His magical belly-down cradle hold can soothe your baby’s tummy troubles faster than you can whip out the gripe water. Give your arms a rest and hand over that baby!

photo: Lindsay Turner via Flickr

2. The Birth Coach
Sure, he wasn’t the one pushing out the baby, but he supported you through every contraction. You probably didn’t notice how hard you were squeezing his hand — and he wasn’t about to tell you. This daddy never let go, even when your newborn was safely in your arms. 

photo: Melissa Heckscher

3. The Wonder Sleeper
He knows how to get good and comfy while keeping his baby safe. You’ll find this adorable duo snoozing anywhere daddies can get a few minutes to lay down.

photo: Owen Lin via Flickr

4. Phone Caller Extraordinaire!
Someone had to update eager family and friends about when you started labor and once your little bundle arrived. While you were too exhausted to talk to anyone, he was spreading the news and sharing the baby’s stats.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

5. The Heavy Lifter
If you had to move or lift anything during your pregnancy, this daddy was always there to help. Now that baby is here, he’s more than happy to carry that load too.

 

photo: U.S. Army via Flickr

6. The Protector
He was uber-protective during your pregnancy, but becoming a daddy amped up this guy’s papa bear instincts big-time. Before, he had a sweetheart; now, he has a family. He’s got everyone’s back, from now until forever. 

photo: Aurimas Mikalauskas via Flickr

7. The Gazer
He might have had eyes only for you before you gave birth, but watch out: This daddy is in love again. He can be found staring into your baby’s eyes endlessly. 

photo: Casey Holford via Flickr

8. The Sling Bearer
This man is not afraid to rock the baby sling and makes baby-wearing look cuter than ever. Bonus points for him giving you an hour or two to sleep while he’s toting your tiny tot around town.

photo: Paul Hart via Flickr

9. The Amazing Cord-Cutter
Somebody had to cut the cord, and this brave daddy wasn’t afraid to do the snipping. Your baby’s adorable belly button will be forever grateful.

photo: Nate Grigg via Flickr

10. The Brave Bather
He is not afraid to handle a slippery newborn and makes sure he gets them clean from head to adorable toes. Bath time is daddy time so you get a well-deserved break.

photo: Neal Gillis via Flickr

11. The Trusty Sidekick
This new dad is happy to give you the spotlight. He’ll stay off to the side in all those new-family photos to let you and the baby shine. But don’t worry: He’ll be there when you need him. 

photo: Les DeFoor via Flickr

12. The Hand Holder
Your baby’s hands may be tiny, but they’ll look even tinier when you see those little fingers grasping onto daddy’s digits. These hands were made for pictures, so be sure to snap a few. 

photo: Tirzah via Flickr

13. The Healer
He may be your big, strong guy, but he knows all about the power of soft baby kisses. Just watch your little one calm down and coo as he plants a sweet one on those little cheeks. We’re melted! 

What makes your baby’s dad a superhero? Tell us in the comments section below. 

— Melissa Heckscher