Moms typically start bonding with their babies earlier than dads, both while they are carrying the child and immediately after birth with skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. But, skin-to-skin isn’t just for moms. It’s a great way for fathers to bond with their newborns in the first hours and weeks of life. And, we offer five more fun bonding ideas below.
WHY IT MATTERS
The parent-child bond is an essential part of healthy human development. Studies show that early bonding specifically with dad can be critical in helping premature babies thrive and helping all babies develop an improved sense of security and self-esteem that can last a lifetime.
5 BABY-BONDING TIPS FOR DADS
Take on a regular routine
Babies benefit from set routines as they begin to anticipate what’s next in their day and that helps them feel safe. Bath time or even diaper duty can become special bonding time with dad. Whatever you choose, be sure to look in your baby’s eyes (to connect emotionally) and talk to your little one (to boost brain development).
- Use a baby carrier
Whether while going for a walk or organizing the house, strapping on a baby carrier is a simple way to get some quality time with your little one. Babies love to be close to their caregiver and using a carrier can help dad and baby both feel secure.
- Learn how to soothe your baby
When fathers can soothe a fussy baby, it teaches the child, that like mom, dad is there to meet their needs. Simple activities like walking, rocking in a chair, or quietly singing to your baby can help develop that trusting sense of attachment.
Learn more baby feeding, health and safety tips for you and baby, from our free parenting classes.
- Be the man on nighttime feeding
Taking over a nighttime feeding is a wonderful way for new dads to bond with their baby (just wait until breastfeeding is established) and gives mom a break, too. Having a few bottles of pumped breast milk in the fridge (or formula, if breastfeeding isn’t possible) will help you be ready to feed during groggy late nights.
- Be silly
Babies are easily entertained by when you make funny faces or sing and dance with them. Studies show that when dads play with their baby, it’s more “stimulating, vigorous, and arousing” which tends to encourage exploration and independence, than the mom’s mellower play, which fosters feelings of safety and balance. These complementary styles are equally great for baby’s development. Finally, reading a book while using different voices is another way to promote brain development and a loving relationship with your baby. Enjoy!