Each dad bonds with his newborn baby differently. Some dads are able to establish a bond with their babies from the get go, while for others, it takes time. Even if it is the latter, there is no reason to worry because there are ways to encourage bonding with the newborn.
Your baby, especially in the first few weeks — even months — usually develop an almost instant connection with their mother. After all, newborn babies spend a significant amount of time with their mothers, especially when they are breastfeeding. So how does dad fit into the picture?
There are so many ways dad can get involved in caring for the newborn baby. Dad can feed the baby with formula milk. If your family is exclusively breastfeeding, dad, of course, cannot produce his own breast milk, but he can definitely feed the baby with expressed breast milk. And beyond feeding, dad should get involved in diaper changes, bathing, sleep routines, bedtime stories, and so much more.
To give you a better idea of how dad and baby can create a strong bond with each other, here are 6 things you can do.
Skin-to-skin contact is one of the most beautiful ways to gain your baby’s trust and confidence. The mom gets a lot of chances to have skin-to-skin contact with the baby through breastfeeding. Dad may also do the same and cuddle the baby close to his chest when he is feeding baby with a bottle. Apart from the feeding sessions, simply cuddling in bed underneath warm blankets is a great way to get closer with baby.
Your newborn baby may not be able to actually play games with you, but they will certainly enjoy your funny faces and silly sounds! The great thing about little baby games is that you don’t have to think about how to do it — you just have to do it. Dad can do these games whenever baby is feeling awake and alert, and he may even set a specific time of the day just for playing.
Give mom a chance to rest in the morning and in the afternoon by talking baby on a walk to the park or to the playground. Wait up! Ditch the stroller and walk wearing your baby in a sling or a carrier instead. Wearing your baby close to you promotes skin-to-skin contact and gives them a chance to get familiar with your scent.
4. Bedtime Stories
Be an active player in the baby’s bedtime routine by being in charge of the nightly bedtime stories. Choose stories and give different treatments to each story. You may be sentimental in one and be highly interactive in the other. Don’t forget to use funny, animated voices! Sooner or later, they will look forward to this special time with dad.
You don’t have to be a chorale singer to entertain your baby with songs! Your baby will delight in hearing your voice, so sing to them as often as you can. Like stories, sing enjoyable songs during playtime to keep your baby engrossed. And when it’s time to sleep or nap, choose soothing and calming lullabies.
Finally, form a strong and unbreakable bond with your baby simply by talking to them throughout the day. Through diaper changes and baths, keep talking to your baby even though it may seem (at first) like you are talking to yourself. However, talking to your baby does not only form a connection between the both of you but also help boost their emotional and linguistic development. Is there anything to lose?
Dads don’t have to feel left out! There are so many things dads can do to be intimately involved in caring for the newborn baby, which gradually builds a strong bond between the two.