August 21, 2015 10:00 AM

He’s wanted to be a dad for his whole life, but Kiptyn Locke wasn’t prepared for just how joyful — and a bit overwhelming — parenthood can be.

“When you introduce kids, a new road comes about,” says the former Bachelorette contestant, who welcomed Koltyn, his son with girlfriend Samm Murphy, on July 16. “My path has changed a little bit, but it’s the path I’ve always wanted.”

And the new dad, 37, is learning quickly, and embracing parenthood milestones with his “alert and curious” new addition.

“We read a bunch of books and did all the preparing stuff,” says Locke. “But when your child is in your arms, all that stuff goes out the window. You instinctually connect with them and you know what they do or don’t need.”

Micaela Malmi

Namely, more diapers than Locke ever thought possible. “The diaper thing still amazes me,” he admits. “The little guy is efficient. I feel like I’m buying more every day!”

As for the bond between the father and son, it was instant, says Locke, who stood by Murphy’s side during her “quick and intense” labor before laying eyes on their baby boy for the first time.

“He came out so alert,” recalls Locke. “He looked right at me and, I think it’s because babies have the falling instinct, but his arms went out and it looked like he was asking for a hug. Then we put him on his mom’s chest, skin to skin, and as he was laying there, he was squeezing my finger so hard and just looking at me. It was unbelievable.”

Micaela Malmi

The businessman, who always dreamed of surfing and soccer with a “little partner in crime,” will ultimately support his son no matter what he chooses to do with his life.

“I still look forward to all of that, but my thinking has shifted,” says Locke. “There’s this realization that he is his own being and I want to see what he chooses. I looked at him and I said, ‘Whatever you want to do, I just want to stand by as you discover it.’ And I want to lead by example. I want to live my life in a way that he’ll respect me.”

Micaela Malmi

One thing Locke is looking forward to in the somewhat immediate future? A little bit of playful future blackmail perhaps.

“On his [first] birthday, I want to take a picture of both of us in diapers,” says Locke with a laugh. “And matching outfits is definitely happening.”

Micaela Malmi

— Aili Nahas

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