I’ve worked with hundreds of expecting and new families over the past 10 years and a common question among the non-birthing partners is “what can I do to bond with the baby?” This is an especially common question if moms are breastfeeding.
My answer is always: “There are a LOT of things you can do to bond with your baby!” Here are just a few of those things that can be done daily:
1. Be the “designated diaper changer”
2. Do bathe time
3. Infant massage
4. Tummy time
These things can all be done daily, and they add up to a lot of quality time together. I have long believed that you can see a baby’s personality from the moment they are born. It just takes time to get to know their individuality. Partner’s that can do the five actions above will learn their babies’ cues faster and be able to meet their needs quickly, this will promote parental confidence, infant security, and bonding between the two.
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Babywearing for dads comes with most of the same benefits as moms who babywear. Read the Benefits of Babywearing for the full list. Dad’s or non-birthing partners tend to have the added responsibility of also caring and supporting the birthing mom. Babywearing gives them the ability to care for their infant so mom can get a nap in or meet her other needs. Babywearing really becomes key when the number of kids outnumbers their parents. Dads can step in and be hands-free too to share more of their child rearing responsibilities.
I love this suggestion from Dr. Sear’s called, “The Neck Nestle.” It states,
“Place the baby in the snuggle position and lift him up a bit until his head nestles into your neck
and your neck and chin drape over baby’s head. You will have found one of the most comforting
and calming holding patterns. In the neck nestle, babywearing dads have a slight edge over
moms. Babies hear not only through their ears but also through the vibration of their skull bones.
By placing baby’s head against your voice box, in front of your neck, and humming and singing
to your baby, the slower, more easily felt vibrations of the lower-pitched voice of babywearing
dads often lull the baby right to sleep. As you rock and walk with your baby, sing a calming song
such as “Old Man River.”
This creates a great way to develop the parent-baby relationship that will have a lasting, positive impact on both dad and baby.