This episode is for the new dads. Oh, it’s exciting. You get to hold your baby for the first time. There is nothing like holding your newborn baby and feeling like you can’t believe that you can love something so much. Then a few days go by. And then a few weeks. Unless you are spending a lot of time with the baby, it can be difficult for you as the dad to feel an immediate close bond with the baby. I’m sure some guys do, but many do not.
I know with my kids, the first few months there was much more time spent with my wife than me. Whether that was my doing or not, I worked and she was the one who was breastfeeding, fell asleep with them on occasion, or just simply took them wherever she went.
Men can often have a more difficult time feeling the immediate bond with the child. Mom had a 9-month head start. As such, here are a few tips to bond with your baby:
1) Talk to your baby – My wife would talk to our kids before they were born. I found it a little difficult but would occasionally give a high five or say hello. It just takes practice to become comfortable with it.
2) Carry your baby – Whether this is in your arms or in a sling, carrying the baby allows both you and it, to feel close.
3) Skin To Skin Contact – There is something about a baby’s skin that is just amazing. It’s soft and feels nice. The touch is also good for the baby. You could either place the baby simply on your chest while reclining or laying down or even give the baby a massage.
4) Give the baby a bath – Don’t let your wife have all of the fun. Bath time can be amazing, especially when a child likes it. It seems quite trivial but when your baby splashes the water for the first time, you think it’s the most amazing thing in the world.
5) Feed the baby – If you wife is breastfeeding, she may consider pumping the breast milk so it can be bottled. Or if you are feeding the baby formula, you take some of the regular feedings
6) Play with the baby – I think you can see a pattern forming here. It’about spending time with the baby. You may be saying, of course, but you would be surprised how many men do not get very involved during the “baby” stage. They get more excited about the future when the kids are active and can run around. However, spend time playing. Also, a piece of personal advice here: be in the moment, do not think about things such as”I can’t wait until she can walk” or “I can’t wait until he can swing a bat”. Enjoy the time you have now.
7) Read to your baby – It doesn’t matter that he/she can understand what you are saying. Reading to your child helps their brain grow. In the case that you don’t want to even read baby books, read something you want to read and allow them to listen. Words, sounds, and your voice and all great inputs for their brain.
The newborn phase is magical but it can also be difficult to feel the immediate bond with the baby. Just be sure to stick with it. Love them, spend time with them, and be sure you are taking advantage of the even the little moments that seem trivial. I think you will look back on those memories with fondness.