New dads learn the ropes of fatherhood

Jason Whitman of Gloversville holds his son Wyatt recently. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — Being a new father can be a daunting task for any man. His life changes radically with the wind.

But as people reflect on Father’s Day today, it’s easy to forget the basics — the innocence of a spanking brand new helpless, precious child gazing up into the bright eyes of his or her adoring new dad.

For Gloversville resident and 38-year-old new father Kevin Bradt, who has a new wife and new daughter, it’s got to feel like a new life too.

“It’s hard,” he reasons. “It’s very busy. All my money basically goes to her,”

Her would be three-month-old, first child Sabrina Rose, who his wife, Jessica, gave birth to. As we caught up with Bradt midweek at his home on Woodside Avenue, he noted she is a very special girl because she was born a month premature at 4 pounds, 15 ounces. She had breathing problems, and had to receive extensive post-birth special care at Albany Medical Center. She is apparently fine now, sleeping through the night and staring at her father with steely confidence.

Kevin Bradt places his daughter, Sabrina, into her stroller outside their Gloversville home on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

“She’s doing amazing,” the proud father reports. “She’s my little princess.”

Bradt, who works at Harold’s Restaurant in Gloversville, married Jessica last August. It was the first marriage for both. He said their new child has been a blessing –one perhaps from above. He says he had a great “very close” relationship with his own father, Ralph Bradt III, who died in 2014.

“She looks a lot like me and my father,” Bradt said of Sabrina. “People say she was brought to you by [my] father. I believe my father was watching over her when she went to Albany Medical Center.”

Bradt said he does it all when it comes to raising Sabrina.

“I change her diapers, I feed her,” he said.

Bradley Hayner of Johnstown looks at his newborn daughter, Laila, outside their home on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

He said he learned how to take care of young children being around family, including a three-year-old niece.

“I basically have been helping out with other family members,” Bradt said.

Bradt is a city native and Gloversville High School graduate. He loves drawing and painting and admits to still trying to find his path in life. But he wishes an easier path for Sabrina.

“I want her to be healthy and have a better life than I did,” he stated. “I never went to college.”

He said he is getting some help from his family, but realizes how important he is to his child’s life. But he said the decision to be a parent should not be taken lightly. He also has some advice for new fathers.

“It is the joy of having a baby,” Bradt said. “The babies are very, very beautiful when they’re born. But they are very hard and expensive.”

Another really new father with his first child is Johnstown resident Bradley Hayner. His infant daughter — Laila Rose — was born June 3 to he and wife, Jessica, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam. In addition to being a new father, his day job is a state department of motor vehicles registration clerk in Johnstown. The Maple Avenue resident is also the city’s 1st Ward councilman.

“She’s doing very good,” Hayner said of Laila. “She’s already trying to hold her head up and is active.”

Fatherhood for Hayner is a special thing, he says.

“It’s a very rewarding feeling to kind of look forward to getting up,” he said. “You know she’s going to be there smiling at you. She’s part of me.”

Hayner said he and Jessica were married in 2012, but in the past year took a more serious look at raising a family.

“We said we had our fun and should start adding to our family,” he said.

The new father said he has hopes of “health, wealth and happiness” for his child as the years progress. He said he hopes Laila remains active in her life. He said she already has a big support system.

Hayner said the biggest change he’s noticed having a little one at home is the change of focus toward the baby.

“You’re not number one anymore,” he said. “She’s number one. She’s always going to be.”

Jason Whitman of Second Avenue, Gloversville, is an order filler at the Walmart Distribution Center in Johnstown. He and his wife, Joanna, married a couple years, and are now the new proud parents of their first child. Wyatt Whitman was born Feb. 18.

The 34-year-old Whitman served as a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is home now and soaking in the joys of fatherhood.

“Life has changed in an awesome way,” Whitman said. “Friends say how you’re going to be tied down. I love it. I’m over all my party phase.”

Whitman said he’s been told he will be a “great father,” and he’s believes that. People also told him he would faint during delivery, but he said he was a trooper coaching his wife.

He said he also heard “horror stories” about babies not sleeping at night, but Wyatt’s so far been accommodating.

“Wyatt is probably one of the best kids to sleep at night,” Whitman said. “He goes to bed at 9 p.m.”

One thing Wyatt will be doing when he’s not sleeping is spending lots of time outdoors with dad.

“I hope he’s an outdoorsman,” Whitman said. “I will be taking him bowhunting this year.”

He said he doesn’t even care if Wyatt cries throughout their experience in the woods, as long as he “gets used to it.”

“I want him to be his own man,” he says of his new son.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at