10 Ways for Dads to Bond with their Newborns
March 17, 2015
Listen up all you dads! This post is written just for you. For all the moms reading, this post is all about helping your husband bond with your newborn, so feel free to share this useful information with him!
Whether this is your first baby, fourth, fifth or even sixth, it is very important for you to bond with your newborn. Your wife will already have a special connection with your newborn; after all, she carried this baby for 9 months! Many dads feel like they’ll have to wait until the baby is older to be able to develop a special relationship with the baby, but the good news is you can start the moment you welcome your little babe to this earth! Your baby needs you just as much as it needs your wife. Here are 10 ways to bond with your baby:
1. Hold baby close: When we had our first baby, I was still working part time, so my husband would stay home with our little girl while I was at work. While I was gone, Dad would take over the bottle-feeding. This was his opportunity to hold our little girl close, look her in the eyes, and hold her the way I would when I fed her. My husband said that this was always his favorite part of the day. This also gave our little girl the chance to bond with daddy and learn that he is someone she can trust and rely on.
2. Take the night shift: Night shifts aren’t just for mommy; this is a great time for dad to bond with baby as well. In the stillness of the night, this is the perfect time for you to hold your baby close and let them know just how much you love them. One of the greatest memories I have is waking up in the morning to find my sweet man with our little baby asleep on his chest. Not only will you start to develop a bond with your baby, you’ll also get brownie points from your wife who will be able to catch up on a little extra sleep.
3. Soothe baby: It’s important to let baby know that mom isn’t the only one who can give them what they need. Instead of handing the baby over as soon as they start to cry, take a few minutes to try to soothe baby by yourself. Holding baby close with rocking motions can usually do the trick. This lets baby know that you can comfort him/her, as well as mom.
4. Be silly with baby: Babies love silly faces and silly sounds. Silly faces usually lead to smiles and, if you’re lucky, even a laugh from the baby. They also love silly noises too. Being silly is a great way to bond with your little one.
5. Walks with baby: It’s important to take your little one into the great outdoors. This doesn’t have to be some amazing location; even a walk around the block is good enough! Your baby will enjoy taking in all the new sights and sounds that the great outdoors has to offer. Make sure your baby can see you while you’re out–with our little girl we used a stroller that allowed her to see us the entire time. There are several other great options for carriers that you can use when you take your baby on a walk. Some of these include Ergobaby performance, Baby Bjorn original, or a Moby Wrap. These types of carriers provide the baby to be close to you which will help with the bonding experience.
6. Diaper Duty: It might not sound like the best way to bond, but baby needs to be changed many times a day, so make the most of it. This is a time when you can talk to baby, tickle baby’s toes, and make baby feel more comfortable around you.
7. Be a part of the bedtime routine: When your little baby arrives, talk with your wife about setting up a consistent bedtime routine. Together you two can discuss what kind of activities you’d like to do. Some fun ideas are reading books, singing songs, cuddles, prayer time, etc. If you’re a dad who works all day and gets home at night, this is a really important time to bond with your baby, especially if you haven’t been able to spend time with your baby during the day. Before we put our little girl down to bed, she always has story time with daddy and then a good night snuggle and kiss. This is a special time that can last up into the toddler stages.
8. Sing/read to baby: The sound of your voice is so soothing to your baby. The more your baby hears your voice, the more he/she will recognize your voice and find comfort in it. Holding your baby close while you sing or read helps the bonding experience.
9. Set time aside: If you’re a first-time dad, you need to make time for the new little person in your life. With your busy, pre-baby schedule, it is easy to forget to make time for your little one when he/she arrives. It’s important to set time aside for your little one so bonding can happen.
10. Baby carrier: As mentioned above, yes you too can wear the baby carrier! You always see the mom walking around with the baby strapped to her chest as she gets things done around the house, now it’s your turn! Even if you only put it on for a few minutes, this will help your little one feel close to you and allow bonding to take place.
Now dads don’t get discouraged or stressed about making bonding time with your baby perfect. Just because we’ve listed ten ideas doesn’t mean that you have to be doing all ten. We suggest picking one or two to start with and giving them a try. The most important thing to focus on is your little baby and what you can do to let him/her know how much you care. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally at first; with time your love and admiration will grow and as a result, your desire to bond will also grow. A relationship with your new baby is very rewarding; this relationship will only continue to grow throughout their lives. Dads, your baby needs you!
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