Have you just become a father? Make sure you read this post about ten ways dads can bond with their newborn baby, where we answer questions parents might have about bonding, bumps, and babies.
Firstly, What Is Meant By Bonding With Your Baby?
Bonding is the strong feeling of love, closeness and attachment that develops between parents and their children.
Can I Still Bond With My Baby If They Are Breastfed?
There are lots of different ways dads and partners can develop a close bond with a baby that don’t involve feeding them, which we go into below.
Make sure you also read our post on how to help a new mum with breastfeeding for tips on supporting your partner with breastfeeding, which will help strengthen the bond you have together, too.
What If I Don’t Feel A Bond With My Baby Straight Away?
Don’t panic! It can take a while to form a close bond with your baby.
While some parents report the ‘rush of love’ feeling as soon as their baby is born, for others it takes longer, and the feeling comes once they’ve spent more time together. Lots of parents report a moment later on when they realise how much they love their baby.
Remember that all bonds change over time, and as your child grows the bond you feel with them will develop and strengthen and feel different to the one you have with them as a newborn.
How Can Dads Bond With New Babies?
Here are ten ways for dads to bond with new babies, during pregnancy and once they are born.
How Dads Can Bond With The Baby During Pregnancy
Talk To The Bump
Babies in the womb can hear outside sounds from around 16 weeks. While it might feel slightly silly at first, you can talk to the baby through your partner’s bump and even play music to them.
Later on in the pregnancy you may see a physical reaction to sounds, with a kick or wriggle from the baby.
What can you talk to them about? Whatever you feel comfortable with – anything from football scores through to how much you’re looking forward to meeting them.
Feel The Kicks Through The Bump
While pregnancy can sometimes feel slightly surreal if you’re not the one who is pregnant, feeling the kicks through the bump can be a good way of connecting you with the baby.
Attend Midwife Appointments and Scans
Attending appointments along with your partner are a good way to be involved in pre-natal care. While it might not be possible to attend all the midwife appointments, scans are a great way to see the baby, and find out how they are developing.
How Dads Can Bond With Their Newborn Baby
Cut The Cord
Once the baby has arrived, and all is well with them and the mum, the umbilical cord – which connects the baby to the placenta - will need to be cut and then clamped. Cutting the cord is something the mother or birth partner can do and is a way of being involved right from the start.
There are occasions where you won’t be able to cut the umbilical cord, with a caesarean birth, for example, but your midwife will be able to advise you.
Have Skin-To- Skin Contact With Your Baby
Skin-to-skin contact is where you hold the baby close to you on your bare chest and is another simple way of bonding with the baby. Skin-to-skin will keep the baby warm and help them relax. Lots of parents opt to have skin-to-skin in the delivery room, and it’s a simple act you can do once you are at home, too.
Be Involved In Their Care From The Start
One of the best ways to bond with your newborn baby is be responsible for their care from the start. This involves changing their clothes, bathing them, changing nappies, holding them, soothing, and comforting them.
Have You Tried Baby Massage?
Baby massage, where you use your hands to massage or stroke your baby, is another simple way that dads can get involved in the baby’s care and help you feel more bonded. There are lots of benefits for the baby, too, including soothing them and helping with their digestion. You can buy baby-safe massage lotion from most chemists.
How To Bond With Your Baby Through Babywearing
Babywearing, where you ‘wear’ your baby in a carrier or sling, is another good way that dads can bond with their baby. The baby will be comforted by the closeness, and most likely fall asleep. Babywearing is also an easy way of getting things done when you have a baby which doesn’t want to be put down!
Sing To Your Baby
A simple way of bonding with your baby is to sing with them, which will help soothe and relax them. Don’t worry if you’re not the best singer – who is? – and even if you don’t know many lullabies. Play some Rockabye Baby, soothing covers of contemporary rock and pop songs, for you to sing along to.
Reading is a simple act that you can do to help you feel more bonded with your baby, no matter how small they are. It’s also a good habit to get into as they get older, and a nice way of maintaining your connection
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