I’m fortunate to have a wonderful father who has always been there for me – and who I know will continue to be there for me. And I’m thankful that my spouse is a parent who wants to be involved with our kids and prioritizes spending time with them.
This one item provides me so much comfort when it comes to parenting children in this uncertain environment. I feel that a lack of a strong relationship with one’s father leads to many of our society’s issues. I really do! We could make a joke about “daddy problems”… However, we should not do so. We should take measures to ensure that our children form a strong relationship with their father from the start.
Perhaps you’re a first-time father who’s worried about how you’ll bond with your new child. Perhaps you’re a seasoned father who wants to bond with a nursing infant. Perhaps you’re a nursing mother who wants to give daddy some quality time as well.
What Is Bonding?
When experts talk about bonding, they’re talking to the close relationship you form with your child. It’s the emotion that makes you want to lavish him with tenderness or fling yourself in front of a rushing truck to save him.
Though few would argue that having a child for nine months offers women a significant advantage in the bonding process, new study reveals that variations in how mothers and dads bond with their newborns may be due as much to social upbringing as to biological predisposition.
Nonetheless, it’s apparent that fathers and mothers have distinct relationships with their children. By the age of eight weeks, a newborn can tell the difference between the two parenting approaches. When newborns were approached by their mothers, their pulse and breathing rates decreased, their shoulders relaxed, and their eyelids fell, according to a Boston Children’s Hospital research. Their heart and respiration rates accelerated, their shoulders bent, and their eyes enlarged as their fathers approached, as if anticipating action.
How Dad Can Bond With Newborn
While I am not an advocate of “attachment parenting,” I do believe in being a present and attentive parent. I believe that a healthy relationship with mommy or daddy begins at birth and that parents must be INTENTIONAL about it from the start. We won’t do it right the first time, but a little effort can go a long way.
We all know that bonding is crucial and that a newborn’s attachment to his or her parents sets the path for good relationships later in life.
Unfortunately, unlike mothers, fathers do not have the same natural built-in chance to interact with a nursing infant.
It might be intimidating for dads at times, but it doesn’t have to be.
It’s very natural for a baby to breastfeed and bond with his or her mother, and it’s equally natural for her to connect with her father!
The first thing to consider if you’re searching for strategies for a dad to bond with his kid is how attachment works. Without delving into the science, the basic remedy is time, deliberate effort, and utilizing the baby’s five senses.
For daddy, this entails the following:
- Talk to your baby so she can hear you; touch your baby so she can feel you; and go near to her so she can see you.
- Taste isn’t feasible if mom is breastfeeding exclusively, but if she’ll take an expressed bottle of mama’s milk, you can attempt feeding her.
Here are some easy yet significant methods for dads to bond with their children, but feel free to add your own!
Dad Can Bond With Baby By Talking To The Baby Bump Before Birth
Talking to mama’s baby bump is one of the earliest methods for dad to bond with his child. It’s remarkable to watch how a baby would move toward the dad’s voice following birth when this happens throughout the pregnancy.
Consider massaging mama’s tummy and having a chat with her (I’m sure she wouldn’t say no to a cocoa butter massage — it helps with stretchmarks and that late-term itching). Of course, talk to your child directly as well, but this may be a great opportunity for you and the lady you love to connect with before the kid comes around. (Like, all the time.) After that, the baby will always be there.)
You’ll be bonding with baby as you’re bonding with each other since the itty bitty human will be listening and becoming acclimated to your voice. And having that relationship formed before they are born will be incredible.
Dad Can Bond with Baby Using the 5’S
You can master soothing your infant by knowing the 5 S’s, which are the keys to the calming reaction. The 5 S’s are relaxing on/off switch and a weeping off switch. Some newborns require all five S’s (swaddling, side or stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking), while others just require a handful. As a new father, you may assist your child in becoming the calmest child on the neighbourhood. This will result in a developing bond between the father and the child, as well as a much-needed respite for Mom. Bonus: Dads are usually fantastic baby-sitters!
Dad Can Bond With Baby By Taking a Walk
With your infant in tow, hit the road. Bonus points if you wear them on your chest in a baby carrier! They’ll appreciate the sights and noises, as well as being nice and near to you (and Mom won’t mind having some alone time).
Dad Can Bond With Baby By Using Skin to Skin Contact
When mama and baby nurse skin to skin, they connect, and daddy may have the same sensation — bonding with a breastfed baby – but without the painful boobs. It’s nearly unjustifiable.
When your baby arrives, peel off your shirt and snuggle with him or her to receive lots of skin-to-skin contact. This is one of my husband’s favorite methods to get out of taking a nap, and I like having a full half-hour to myself.
While Mama takes a shower, asleep, or reads a chapter from a nice book, you curl up together and snuggle skin to skin. Perhaps you could rock her while she rests one day or even lay her on your chest while you watch sports.
Skin-to-skin contact triggers a variety of natural responses in both of you, cementing your relationship. Start shortly after she’s delivered in the hospital; as soon as the mother is ready to pass her over to you, try settling her on your chest.
Dad Can Bond With Baby At Bath Time
Bathing is an important time for parents and newborns to bond, so take part.
This is a wonderful approach to get closer to your child and teach her to trust and appreciate your touch. And what happens after bath time is over? Dry her off and massage her a little.
Gently apply some natural baby oil or lotion onto her arms, legs, back, tummy, head, and feet. Make it a really wonderful bonding moment for you both by speaking to her in a quiet, soothing voice.
You can also bath with the baby! Nothing makes a new baby happier than having a bath while safely held in a parent’s arms. While most babies do not require regular washing, taking a bath with the baby on dad’s chest in body temperature water is a fantastic way to relax and bond.
The infant is safe and secure, and the father may take a nice bath while spending quality time with his child. Always put your safety first! When entering and exiting the tub, always have another adult ready to pass the baby off to. When wet, babies are slick.
Dad Can bond With Baby By Snuggling Up
Your devotion will make your baby feel comfortable around you; she will learn that you love her, soothe her, and protect her.
Bring your face up close to hers. Because she can’t see very far, this is one of the most crucial ways for Dad to interact with the baby once she’s arrived in the world. Lean down and kiss her lovely tiny nose while holding her on your chest.
You’ll have already built a bond and affection for her when she’s older. And this is critical.
You can even use a baby carrier to snuggle up and get some contact naps in.
But, for the time being? You’ll have a very happy baby who knows how much her father loves her!
You’re also preparing her for future success (how awesome is that?!).
Physical love (i.e. hugs) has been shown in scientific research to help a baby’s brain develop properly, resulting in more intellectual babies and adults.
Dad Can Bond With Baby By Reading
It’s never too early to begin reading to your child (not just for bonding, but also for language development). Children who are read to frequently speak earlier and have an easier difficulty understanding language). Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, and Guess How Much I Love You are all wonderful baby books with beautiful messages.
When she’s too little to understand what you’re saying, start holding her and reading to her since your touch and voice will tell her everything she needs to know for now.
Reading aloud to a kid is one of the most wonderful and long-lasting ways for a father to bond with his child since it begins a habit that may endure throughout their childhood. This is one they’ll remember.
Dad Can Bond With Baby By Babywearing
Babywearing allows dads and babies (even newborns) to interact and bond in a unique way. Most newborns like being carried around, and when a father does so securely, it strengthens the link between him and his kid. Furthermore, wearing a baby allows the father to go out in public, perform household activities and chores, or even work, depending on the sort of employment he has. There are many different types of carriers on the market, and parents should always make sure they’re using one safely and responsibly, and that it fits both the father and the baby properly.
Dad Can Bond With Baby By Being Themselves
But the most essential tip for a father to bond with his child is to be himself.
You are the ideal father for this tiny bundle of joy, Daddy! (Want to know how I know? You didn’t merely roll your eyes when your wife handed you the phone, so either you discovered it on your own to read. You’ve read it, and you’re concerned about your baby’s connection. That is THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR!) You’ll be connecting and building a relationship with her as you hold her and talk to her, hug her and tickle her, read to her and play with her.
You’ll play hide-and-seek with her and tag games with her, teach her how to ride a bike, and meet her first crush one day.
This is only the beginning of a wonderful adventure ahead of us.
But, for the time being, Take everything one day at a time and be true to yourself. She’ll adore you no matter who you are because you’ll be there. And the most essential method for dad to bond with his baby…or toddler…or child…or teen is to be present.
AAP. 2015a. Welcome to the world of parenting. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Welcome-To-The-World-of-Parenting.aspx [Accessed October 2016]
AAP. 2015b. A special message to new dads. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/A-Special-Message-to-Fathers.aspx [Accessed October 2016]
AAP. 2015c. A message for dads. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/A-Message-for-Dads.aspx [Accessed October 2016]
AAP. 2015d. About skin-to-skin care. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/preemie/pages/About-Skin-to-Skin-Care.aspx [Accessed October 2016]
Biebel K, et al. 2016. Paternal postpartum depression. Journal of Parent & Family Mental Health. (1)1. http://escholarship.umassmed.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=parentandfamily [Accessed October 2016]