How to help Dad bond with Baby

A lot of pregnancy focuses on the new mom -to-be, but we can’t forget the dad-to-be. Men aren’t great at expressing their feelings (need I say more), but they often have the same insecurities that moms have. Will I be a good dad? What if I don’t know what to do? How will this change my relationship with my wife? Can I do this? It’s harder for men to bond with their babies when they are still on the inside; as a women we feel every kick and flutter, but the dad has only a few moments of feeling a kick or seeing babies heart beat.

I knew my husband was I’ll make a great dad, but I was curious to see how he would bound with a newborn. We made some intentional choices to create baby and daddy time and it was an absolute beautiful process to watch. Here’s what we did to help daddy and baby bond:

Skin-to-Skin Time

This is probably one of the most important pieces of the bonding puzzle. Right after delivery it is highly recommended that moms spend at least an hour with their baby’s bare skin on their own skin. For the mother this creates bounding and helps your baby’s breathing, heartbeat, and temperature regulate. After August was born I spent roughly three hours with him on my chest with blankets swaddling him close to me. Once I was ready to shower and get changed the midwives did the same swaddling process to Devon. They had him remove his shirt and let little bear sleep skin-to-skin. We let them share an hour of time before packing up to head home.

Once home we continued to give August skin-to-skin time with both of us. I would hold him for thirty minutes after every feeding and Devon would get in sometime when we woke up in the mornings and before bed.

Night Time Routines

My husband was such a blessing when August was born. He never tried to hand off dirty diapers and was always looking for ways he could help me. We had both night time and morning routines that not only gave me a moment of peace, but also gave him time with little man. At night whenever August wakes up to nurse he changes his diaper while I get myself ready, while I feed the baby he takes a catnap, then he takes August and rocks him back to sleep while I try to get some sleep myself. We got into this routine when he was about a month old and it took a lot of pressure off of both of us cause we were able to get more rest. What helps mommy and daddy stay happy, helps baby stay happy.

Mealtimes

Along with helping with the nighttime feedings, Devon also began to give August a bottle several times a week in the days leading up to my return to work. Allowing dad time to feed baby let’s him get a little taste of what moms experience when nursing.

Playtime

I love the newborn stage when all baby wants to do is snuggle up and sleep, but Devon could not wait until he started to smile and play back. When he was still in the newborn phase Devon loved to take him on a run with our jogging stroller. This gave dad some responsibility and ownership of keeping baby safe on the run, plus it got me exercising again!

Daddy Daycare

we found ourselves in the fortunate position that my husband worked evening shifts while I worked day shifts- this allowed him to stay home with August and helped save on childcare. When I first went back to work I was so nervous that the bottles, diaper changes, and fussiness would be overwhelming to him, but he rose to the occasion and has taken such great care of little bear. Since I’ve been back at work I have noticed the bond between them grow so much.

As mother’s sometimes I feel we get so into “mom mode” and try to do and take care of everything, but by stepping back and allowing our partners to fill in those roles we can actually have a strong bond. Baby and daddy will benefit from more time, your respect for your husband will grow as he steps into the dad role and your relationship will benefit from the relief it will provide you. Your man is wired to be a provider and leader- let him wear those shoes and take a step back to just be a wife and mother, not just a doer.

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