Dads may not carry their baby in the womb, as mums do, but this doesn’t prevent them from forming just as strong an attachment to their child. Many new fathers enjoy spending time with their little one, nurturing them, loving them unconditionally and taking care of them no matter what. However, sometimes, this deep connection needs a little extra time to develop. There are many different ways in which dads can bond with their newborn.
When do fathers start to feel a bond with their child?
Some will form a bond immediately, at the maternity clinic, as they hold their little one in their arms for the first time. Others will need a few more days before they start to feel a powerful attachment to their child. Certain fathers will have to wait even a little bit longer than that. This is perfectly normal. The priority is to take care of their baby’s needs, such as bathing, cuddling or winding. There is so much that dads can do.
With the arrival of their newborn, new dads often find themselves experiencing a variety of emotions, especially if this is their first child. They might feel very tired and a little stressed about their new responsibilities as a parent. They also have to support mum, who is almost certainly exhausted after childbirth. All these feelings can make it difficult for them to build a deep attachment right away.
How can dads bond with their child?
Carrying her baby for nine months, and then perhaps also breastfeeding, leads a mother to develop a strong connection with her child. Even if they aren’t capable of performing these particular actions, dads can do many other things to develop a secure attachment with their newborn.
Just as mum holds her newborn close to her when she is breastfeeding, dads can do the same when bottle-feeding their little one. Cradling their baby in their arms and enjoying lots of eye contact can help a strong father-child bond to emerge. Moreover, cuddling and showing affection often helps soothe dad as much as it does his baby.
Playing with their child
Playing is important for a child’s development. This is how they discover and learn about the world around them. When baby is very little, dad can make funny faces or tickle her to make her smile. Later on, a father can join in and play with his child, for instance, on the activity gym or play mat. Dancing to music with the little one in their arms can be a lot of fun too!
Talking to them
Infants enjoy hearing the sound of their parents’ voice. Talking to them all day or regularly reading them a cute little story helps to create a deep connection between the father and his child. Singing to baby whilst making lots of eye contact is also a fantastic way to form a special bond.
Getting up at night
When his baby is crying at night, getting up to reassure her gives dad the opportunity to have a precious moment alone with his child. Preparing a few bottles in advance is a great way to avoid waking mum up in order to breastfeed.
Taking care of their basic needs
Bathing, bottle-feeding or changing a dirty nappy are just a few of the things that a dad can do for his little boy or girl. Being involved in the child’s routine and playing a nurturing role is vital for a father and his child to feel closer to each other.
Soothing their newborn
Soothing baby’s tears by rocking, cuddling or walking him around while singing makes him see that his dad is taking care of him, just like mum does.
Going for a walk
Let’s take the buggy and let’s go for a nice walk. Infants love being outside! To make this moment even more special, dad can also carry baby using a sling or a front carrier to keep her close to him throughout the stroll.
Taking some time off
The arrival of a newborn not only requires lots of adjustment in their parents’ lives, it can also affect the lives of their siblings. It’s important to be present for the baby as much as possible and take care of his day-to-day needs. Taking some time off, for instance, a sick day, a paternity pay and leave or a parental leave allows dad more time to fulfill his new parenting duties, as well as reinforcing a bond with his child.