Who’s excited about Father’s Day? We are! Dads are our other half, our partners in parenting and our soul mates. But when a new baby is added to your family, dad may feel he’s the odd one out. That doesn’t have to be the case. To celebrate all the new dads out there, we’re sharing ways for dad to bond with baby.
From the moment your baby is born, she longs for human contact. It’s how she feels safe, comforted and loved. Moms get lots of skin-to-skin contact by breastfeeding day and night. Dad can participate in this loving act as well by simply taking off his shirt and lying down with baby to share in a special bonding moment.
We all know babies cry and some dads have the tendency to pass baby back to mom when that happens. However, there are two reasons why dad should console his crying baby. First, if he always lets mom intervene, baby will learn that it’s OK to cry for mom and she will eventually take over. Secondly, babies need to know that dads are there for them too. If dad can tough it out and try to calm her, baby will learn that dad is a nurturer just like mom.
Give Baby a Bath
Bath time is a wonderful opportunity for daddy/baby bonding. Even if mom typically gives the bath, dad can step in once in awhile. This gives dad a chance to play, sing and act silly with baby in a familiar environment. Especially if baby loves to take a bath, allowing dad to take over can help keep her relaxed when mom steps away. After bath time, dad can give baby a massage with baby oil or lotion and spend time cuddling.
Daddy Play Time
Dads should spend special times playing with baby. Reading books, singing songs in front of a mirror, saying nursing rhymes, making silly faces, dancing, looking at photo albums and otherwise engaging baby in fun play are all wonderful ways to spend time together. If dad is not around for most of the day, enjoying happy experiences together will promote the bonding process.
Take a Walk
Dad can take baby for a walk in the stroller or in a baby carrier so the two can enjoy nature together. Babies love fresh air and observing things in nature such as the wind rustling the trees or squirrels chasing one another. Dad can describe the scenery and have a heart-to-heart with baby as they trek the neighborhood or a park.
Spend the Day Together
Dad may not get to do the daily routine often, but when he can, he should take on the bulk of the parenting for a day. Mom may need to be involved for feedings, but otherwise, let dad handle the diaper changes, naps and all other daily activities. It is good for both dad and baby to get to know each other’s expressions, mannerisms, likes and dislikes. Only spending time together can reveal these unique characteristics that will create an intimate relationship.
We wish everyone a Happy Father’s Day with lots of baby bonding!