Dad and Baby Bonding
As a newborn’s father, I can attest to the challenge some men will face with immediate bonding with baby. For a mother, in most cases, it’s instinctive and the bonding comes almost instantly as soon as baby takes her first rest on mommy’s chest.
In my case I was fortunate in a weird way, as my wife had a C-section and got first dibs on holding our first angel. So, because of this, I had some serious bonding time and got a head start. Most dads won’t experience this. This is because, in reality, we play second fiddle. It is generally the mother who will of course feed baby, spend more time with baby, and get baby to sleep. This is particularly true if the dad has to go back to work and have even less and less time as work usually will mean he will leave when baby is waking, and get home when baby is sleeping.
But when dads are in the thick of it, and have some quality time to spend with baby, here are some little tips to help break the ice!
Once you’re in a regular breastfeeding routine, you can pump a bottle’s worth of milk so Dad can do a midnight (or late night) feed, and have some real one on one time. There will be no one around, baby should be quite peaceful, and it can be a real beautiful time to share between them. It was for me.
I remember the first time we strapped out little one in a rear facing baby carrier, and walking around the shops with her sleeping on my chest. If she wanted to look up, she’d see my face and smile – a great way to spend some time together and still go about your day.
My father in law used to tell about how the most exciting part of his day was coming home from a long day at work, to bathe the children. It was his job and he loved it.
When baby is old enough and it’s safe to do so, he can take baby into the shower or tub with him.
Read (almost) Anything!
Reading to baby is great for her, even if she has no idea what you’re saying. Baby books can get pretty repetitive, so Dad’s, don’t be afraid to pick up the sports page or the like, and get your fix all whilst entertaining and spending time with little one.
“If your baby is old enough to be eating solid food, you might as well be the maitre d’. It’s entertaining — see the food go in, and watch it come right back out!” // www.babycenter.com
Change a Diaper
Get in he men and prepare to get your hands dirty! I remember saying “there is no way I can change a diaper!”, but once you get started it’ not as bad as you would line. It’s great for a number of reasons, not the least of which includes the contact time, you’ll feel more at ease to talk to the little one, and more.
When the Times get Tough (or Cold)
“Nobody wants their baby to get sick, but there’s nothing like an illness to prove how much the little guy really needs you. A night spent rocking a sick child will make you painfully, preciously aware of what parenting is all about.” // www.babycenter.com
Workout with Baby
Not at the local gym.
Anyone here seen those “got a door, got a gym!” infomercials?
I’m here to tell you, you got a baby, you’ve got a great weight that increases resistance by the day! Within reason of course, there won’t be any baby kettlebell swings going on here. But once baby is strong enough to hold her head up, things such as bench press and curls are old favorites that baby will love.
With extreme caution and within reason.
“Studies have shown that mothers and fathers hold their babies in very different ways: Moms are more likely to cuddle. Dads tend to get a little more physical.” // www.babycenter.com
Of course it is very dangerous to shake a baby, but what you want to do is stimulate her muscles once she is old enough to sit up. Gentle tossing, knee bouncing, or carrying her around like she’s flying – the classic daddy/daughter, daddy/son games.
Read our other articles for more ideas of things to do with your baby: