A new baby is a wonderful time for any family, and of course mothers and babies have a very special bond, so it can sometimes be easy for dads to feel left out, particularly if they work long hours.
However there are plenty of things dads can do to help them bond with their new bundle of joy.
Bathing And Dressing Baby
Washing and bathing your baby are great ways to bond, as many babies enjoy bath time, so letting dad help out with bathing is an easy way for them to spend time together. When he is drying and dressing the baby, they can share plenty of cuddles together.
Nappy changes are a great opportunity to talk and interact with your baby. Singing rhymes or just having a chat with your baby makes the process much less stressful. Baby is in an ideal position to focus on you during a nappy change.
Helping Out With Feeds
If your baby is formula fed then it’s easy for dad to help out with one or more feeds each day, perhaps taking a night feed to help mum get more sleep. If you are breastfeeding your baby, if your baby will happily take a bottle (it is recommended that you wait a few weeks before introducing a bottle unless topping up low weight gainers) dad could feed some expressed milk to the baby. Even if baby is only fed from the breast, dad can help by burping and cuddling the baby following the feed, so don’t feel that breastfeeding is a barrier to father/ baby bonding time.
Play With Baby
Interact and play with your baby while they’re in their bouncer or learning to hold rattles and other small toys. Remember newborns love reaching out and feeling different textures, so having daddy’s face up close and personal gives baby the chance to grab his nose, touch his hair and generally have a whale of a time! Who needs toys when daddy’s got such an interesting face?
Wearing your baby in a sling allows your baby the close contact that all babies adore. Your baby will love being close to the sound of dad’s heartbeat and feel comforted by the warmth. Remember the bond you felt when you first held your baby to your skin? You could do some skin to skin time with baby resting on dad’s chest, sharing body heat with a blanket covering both.
Read To Your Baby
Your newborn will have heard dad’s voice from inside the womb, so will naturally be comforted by it. Reading a story, or even a page from the newspaper (it doesn’t matter what you read, it’s the tone of your voice that’s important at this age) gives dad a great opportunity to bond with his newborn. While being talked to, many babies mimic this by opening and closing their mouths and making cooing sounds, all important first steps in learning to communicate.
The above are just a few ideas to get you thinking, but the main thing is that dads should spend as much time as possible with their newborn, and get involved as much as they can. This way they will share plenty of special moments together and their bond will continue to grow.