Congratulations! Your little bundle of joy is here and the real work now begins…
Why are they crying? Are they hungry? Do they need changing? Do they like me? What do I do? On repeat. But this is oh so normal behaviour in the early days of parenthood. Whilst it can be daunting and scary and you want to do everything right, the early days are the optimum time to start bonding with your baby to lay the primary foundations for the future.
As the Mum typically spends the majority of time with baby to begin with due to breastfeeding and maternity leave, it can make dad’s feel a little bit left out in a peculiar way, don’t forget that Dad’s are new to this too and also need a little bit of support and encouragement.
Whilst breastfeeding can take up a lot of bonding time with Mum, there are plenty of things that you can do to start building your own unbreakable bond with baby from the get go.
1.Skin To Skin Time
There are SO many benefits of regular skin to skin contact with Dad (as well as Mum!). We recommend incorporating skin to skin time shortly after baby is born. It can calm and reduce babies stress levels, synchronises heart rate and breathing and can even improve the quality of sleep, which is something surely worth thinking about! You’ll start to develop feelings of protectiveness and connection during skin to skin time, and it really is a wonderful thing for you and baby to enjoy together.
2.Singing & Talking
The best way to bond with baby is to be vocal. Talk to them all the time when baby is awake, sing those lullabies on repeat that you’ll never be able to get out of your head again, unleash the inner high pitched baby voice that we promise no one else will know about! Singing and talking to them whilst gently cradling or cuddling them is a lovely way to bond with baby. Whilst they won’t understand much at this age, they are alert and receptive and it will allow them to get used to the calming rhythm of your voice, helping them to feel safe and secure when they’re in your company.
3. Opt For A Baby Sling
Take baby on many walks, just make sure they’re appropriately dressed if it’s a little bit chilly. Why not opt for a baby sling for walks? Not only does it mean you can be hands free, baby loves the cocooned feeling and it’s almost as if Dad is now getting a chance to carry baby round like Mum did. Like the skin to skin contact, having baby closely strapped to you is a wonderfully calming experience for baby that will allow you to continue deepening that bond.
4. Take It In Turns At Night
Whilst this is easier said than done in the early stages if baby is breastfeeding and is wanting milk, take it in turns to do the night shift and attend to baby if you hear them crying in the night. These moments of sleep deprivation and exhaustion are worth it in the end, it won’t always be like this and it’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy the alone time with baby to bond.
5. Make Them Laugh!
Baby giggles are the purest thing in the entire world, if they could bring peace to the entire world then they literally would! Throw all the funny faces and noises to get baby cracking a little giggle, as baby gets a little bit older you can progress to peekaboo and tickling!
6. Baby Massage
Baby massage is a lovely way to bond with baby. The focused eye contact and time spent bonding during baby massage is a simple way to help relax and soothe baby. It’s best to try this when baby is quiet and happy and you only need 10-15 minutes to gently rub their legs, arms and neck with a baby approved body lotion. Take a look at our baby massage blog post for more tips on practicing baby massage.
7. Bedtime Routine
Become an integral part of their bedtime routine, from bath time and changing to story time. It will become something that both you and baby look forward to each day, as well as giving them a routine that keeps them calm and happy before hopefully, a well rested, and possibly undisturbed sleep!