Mom gets a 9 month head-start on you by carrying the baby inside of her. Baby is inherently used to the rhythm of her unique heartbeat, movement, and scent. But what about dad? Here are 7 cool and easy ways to jump-start the baby-daddy bond. |
1. Use Baby Slings Babies are soothed by the familiar scent, heartbeat and movement of their mother. Baby carriers allow your baby to learn your heartbeat, scent and movement and allow you to have your hands free. This means that you can take your baby with you while you are walking the dog, doing the grocery shopping, raking the lawn, and going about your everyday life. Your baby will soon learn your scent and feel and your child will quickly be soothed and comforted by your presence.
2. Use Your Voice Babies respond very well to a father’s voice, especially when he sings. The deeper tones and slower cadences of a man’s voice are soothing to a child. Don’t worry if your singing voice isn’t on par with The Three Tenors’; babies are notoriously easy critics. Lullabies, favorite ballads, even rock songs. It doesn’t matter how well you sing, or even what you sing, so long as your tone is soft and comforting.
3. Don’t Be Shy Mothers have such a natural instinct for parenthood that fathers are often reluctant to step in for fear of coming between mother and child. By not getting involved, you rob both yourself and your child of a very important chance to bond, and you might make your wife feel that you aren’t enthusiastic about the new baby. So offer to take the baby with you when you walk the dog or go to the store. Again, a sling can make things easier for both of you. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes - your baby will let you know when you are doing something wrong. As you become more familiar with each other, you’ll learn to recognize what your child wants and needs. Don’t be so terrified of making a mistake that you hand your baby back to its mother at the first sign of fussiness or tears. Learning to comfort a child yourself is an important part of bonding.
4. Make Your Own Rituals Remember that giving birth and adjusting to a new baby is a very stressful and emotional time for the mother as well. She may be feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and a bit frightened, and she needs a lot of love, support, and help with the baby. So don’t be insulted if your wife has difficulty surrendering time with the baby or seems bossy about how the child should be handled. Work together with her, respect her instincts and wisdom, and be calm and patient as you, your wife, and your new child adjust to your new family structure. It may also seem that your baby prefers to spend time with mommy, especially when he or she is very young. This is perfectly natural, so don’t feel insulted or slighted. It takes a little bit of time for the baby to adjust to another person, while he or she became acquainted with the mother while still in the womb. Just as your baby is familiar with mom’s heartbeat, scent and rhythm, you can get your child used to your heartbeat, scent and rhythm with the use of baby carriers.
5. Give the Child “Daddy Time” Although it’s great to spend time with mommy and baby together, it’s also a good idea to have time alone with your child. Volunteer to watch the baby while your wife takes a well deserved nap, or go for walks outside with the help of baby slings while mommy decompresses at home.
6. Feed the Baby One of the primal instincts of a newborn baby is to take comfort from the person who provides life-sustaining food. Traditionally, this has been the mother, which is one reason why the bond between baby and daddy takes longer to build. If your child is bottle feeding (or being supplemented with pumped breastmilk), volunteer to take over some of the feeding times. Late-night feedings are a beautiful way for father and child to bond when the world is quiet and no one else is around – while letting mommy get some much needed sleep. If your child is exclusively breastfeeding, it is harder for fathers to get involved in the feeding process. A good way to make up for this is to take the baby immediately after a good feeding, when the little one is warm and sated. Your child will quickly begin to associate you with those good feelings. You can burp the child, walk the baby to sleep, or let him or her suck on your little finger – all in your sling. Your sling will make feeding easier for you and as an added bonus, babies that fall asleep during feeding do not need to be woken up afterwards. You can carry them around while you go about your normal activities or you can slip the sling over your shoulder and lay baby down to sleep.
7. Work With Your Wife It’s important to establish a relationship with your child on your own terms, not just as a reflection of how your wife interacts with the baby. Creating your own games and rituals is a good way to do this. Rocking your child, dancing together to music, playing your favorite songs, and being silly together are all ways that you and your baby will get to know one another better.
Jude Kuipers is the mother of two children and the owner of Mamma's Milk, a baby sling company. She lost the baby weight with the help of her Baby Carriers. Jude lives in Florida with her children Jaxon and Savannah and her college sweetheart and business partner.
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