While the role’s that Moms and Dads play are often different, these days Dads are truly taking a bigger role in child-rearing. Especially when it comes to the newborn phase. With Dads sharing in providing for baby’s needs and all the baby cuddling, it’s important to talk about Dad bonding with baby! Your role as a caregiver with a secure attachment to baby is both significant and exciting!
First things first, don’t stress. Bonding with baby can take time. And the process is so different for everybody. You have to find ways of bonding with baby that works uniquely for you- your relationship is special and unlike any other! So if you aren’t feeling “bonded” right away, just keep loving on baby and that attachment will develop over time. Overthinking will keep you from being open and relaxed- the perfect environment for bonding!
It’s never to early for Dad to get in some bonding time! Newborns benefit from skin to skin contact, and it is a great way for both parents to bond with baby. You can do this right away in the hospital! If baby is being bottle fed, be sure to get in on feedings right away so you can feel confident. If Mom is breastfeeding, take over the burping role right after. And even newborns benefit from being talked to, sung to, read to, and interacted with. So start talking! Just remember that newborns can be easily overstimulated, and quiet cuddle time is important too.
Even newborns can benefit from a trip out of the house every once in awhile! Home is baby’s safe zone, but venturing out can be good for everyone. Let Mom have some alone time at home and take baby on a special adventure, just the two of you! Meet up with other dads, go for a walk, stroll around the mall or Target, put baby in the carrier and go hiking, or grab a bite to eat! Taking baby out can seem daunting, and it usually requires a lot of pre-planning and a bunch of crap. But the more you do it, the better you will be, and it will definitely be a bonding experience!
Take advantage of the little moments
Bonding with babies isn’t always about the perfect moments- bonding can happen over poopy diaper changes and spit up clean ups too! If you stay present in the moment, you’ll find that any time you and baby are touching and interacting can be fun and aid in developing your relationship. Have a special song you sing for every diaper change. Or a silly dance after bathtime when baby is snuggled up in a towel. Life never stops, so neither should your bonding time with baby!