We all know just how important the mother/infant bond is, however, have you considered the benefits of ensuring the same amount of effort is put in for dad/infant bonding as well? While mothers are providing nourishment through feedings, fathers can often feel a bit left out from the beginning stages of infancy.
There are many ways to ensure your baby is getting much needed time with dads too! Below are just a few steps to make that happen:
- Skin-to-skin contact is just as vital for dad and infant as it is for the mother to bond with the new baby. Skin-to-skin helps with maintaining body temperature, reduces both baby and parent stress, and provides much needed security for your baby. Skin-to-skin bonding is as simple as placing your baby belly-down, directly on your chest and covering he or she with a blanket. Even 15 minutes a day does wonders for bonding and keeps your baby warm and calm.
- Bath time with your baby! Most newborns aren’t a fan of bath time. One way to curb the hesitation and natural upsets is to have your baby lying on their father’s chest during bath time. Not only is dad getting to bond with baby, but this feeds your baby a great deal of security during a stressful event. Be sure to keep the bath water warm and consider this only for those first few weeks when your baby has very little movement and can be safely snug in your arms.
- Be intentional with scheduling time for dad and baby. It is easy to get caught up with the commotion having a newborn brings to a home but let’s not forget that moms will need a shower and to eat, too! During those times, allow dad to step in and take over the care of your baby. This will give mom her much needed self-care time while dad is bonding with baby.
- Taking a walk through your neighborhood or nearby park. Dads will get to enjoy a bit of exercise while baby learns to love the outdoors. Dads can choose to babywear or simply push a stroller. Both are shown to have great benefits for a newborn at this time. Bonus points – if you can take a walk while mom rests and prepares for the next feeding.
- Finally, ENJOY DIAPER DUTY! It’s true, there is a lot of communication and stimulation that happens while you change a diaper. This is a great time to coo, sing, or talk to your baby. The sound of your voice is soothing and will soon be known as expected comfort and attention. Studies show fathers who are involved in childcare related tasks throughout the week, not just the weekends, do develop the best relationships with their baby. Don’t hesitate to step in to enjoy time with your baby.