The best start any dad can give his children in life is to establish a strong bond with them from the very beginning. But the process of bonding with a child in the early weeks can be harder for a dad than for a mom.
Because of this, dads need to be very intentional about bonding with their children during the crucial first years.
One of the reasons dads struggle to bond with their babies is that they’re not sure how to. All babies do is eat, sleep, cry and emit foul smelling substances from both ends of their tiny bodies. Yet in spite of their obvious limitations, there are many ways to bond with your baby.
Here are 5 great ways dad and baby can spend time together:
Newborns thrive on skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo care. They love nothing more than snuggling against your bare skin and feeling your heartbeat.
There is even science to back up this claim. A 2007 study found that infants who were placed directly on their father’s bare chest after a C-section stopped crying, were calmer, and were able to fall asleep faster than babies placed directly in the crib.
Take time each day to cuddle your baby close to your bare chest. It will feel great for you as well as for your baby.
Sing to your baby
Newborns respond very well to music so another great way to bond is to sing to them. Don’t worry if you don’t have a voice like Ed Sheeran because your kids really don’t care.
Whether you sing soothing lullabies or an entire Bohemian Raphsody performance (instrumental included), your child is sure to enjoy your efforts, and you’ll share special moments together. It’s a great way for father and son to bond.
Swinging in dad’s arms
Babies get used to rhythmic movements after being rocked in the womb. This is why they settle easily when rocked or swayed in Dad’s arms.
Whether you’re walking or slinging your baby around the living room or going out on those special dad walks in the sling, you’ll feel closer to your newborn. They, in turn, will feel safe and secure in Dad’s arms.
Talk to your baby as often as you can
Talk while you are holding or changing your baby. For example, ‘Change this diaper. That feels better, doesn’t it? This is a nice clean diaper. Don’t cry, we’ll be done soon. Every word your baby hears helps develop his language and learning abilities, and strengthens your bond with him. Telling stories, reading books, or singing songs can also have the same effect.
Play with your baby
Many dads are excellent at pulling funny faces and babies will also start to respond to games like peek-a-boo from around 6 months of age. New fathers are often afraid of hurting their children. It’s important to keep them safe in a way that’s appropriate for their age and stage of development, but you’ll soon learn that they’re not as fragile as you might think.