A father will not experience the same feelings of love-at-first-sight that a mother does with a new baby. Fathers don’t share the same experience of pregnancy as mothers, and that’s okay! So, if you’re a new dad who is feeling overwhelmed at the arrival of your baby, or a new mom who is not quite sure of what’s up with your partner acting weird around the baby or you, just relax. Learn how to bond with your baby by following these tips for new dads.
- Have Skin To Skin Contact
Establish an intimate connection right away. Take your shirt off and sit comfortably in a chair while holding the baby with its clothes off close to your chest. Cover the baby if necessary with a cozy blanket. Contact between the skin and the body allows for temperature regulation, reduces stress, releases oxytocin (the love hormone), and provides comfort and security. What’s more, it also helps stabilise blood sugar!
Additionally, you can cradle your baby in your arms while it is bathing. If you have a bathtub, you can relax and bond with the baby while holding it on your chest. Your baby is sure to feel secure and comforted this way. Please pay attention to safety; do not get in and out of the tub with the baby by yourself. Have another adult assist you.
- Sing To The Baby
When your child is still in the womb, you can start bonding with them. Singing the same songs after the baby is born can help calm and soothe your little one. Babies can recognize their fathers’ voices as early as 32 weeks gestation, and even right after birth. That being said, facial recognition takes a bit longer.
No worries if you’re not a good singer. Read to the baby instead! The words may not make sense to babies, but they are attracted to the human voice. Holding your baby and reading your favourite book or the newspaper aloud will make it feel safe. As the baby grows, switch to picture books and other books appropriate for his or her age.
- Babywearing While Doing Chores
Sitting at your home office desk or vacuuming can be good opportunities to bond with your child too! There are several types of carriers available that you can use to carry your baby around while you’re running errands safely. Make the most of the time you have to bond with your child. Always make sure you’re using the carrier the right way and safely and responsibly. The carrier should also fit comfortably for you and your baby.
- Stroll Around
Once your baby is old enough to be taken outside, swap gym time for a walk in the neighbourhood with your baby in the stroller. As your child gets older, think of getting a child seat on your bicycle or adding a trailer, or using a jogging stroller. Always be mindful of manufacturer instructions and age/weight guidelines to prevent injury to your child. Ask an expert if you’re unsure.
- Establish Rituals And Traditions
When you get home from work, leave work at the door, clear your mind, and get ready to spend time with your child. Get in the habit of greeting your baby, holding it in your arms, and reconnecting. You can also start a weekend tradition like going grocery shopping or continue an old activity that you and your dad used to do.
You can also find out if your employer offers paternity leave. If yes, use it to help your partner through the early days and also get to bond with your little angel. Be patient throughout the process!