As a new dad, one of the most important parts of fatherhood is establishing a bond with your newborn. Fathers play a crucial role in helping their baby to establish a sense of security in the world. Closeness also lets a child know their father is there for them. So what are some effective ways to bond with your newborn? Take a look at some of our top tips!
1. Skin-to-Skin Contact
One great way to establish a bond with your newborn is to take some time for skin-to-skin contact. This is a great way to not only be close to your little one, but it’s an easy, natural way to soothe them and keep them warm. If you’re bottle feeding your baby, take advantage of the opportunity for some skin-to-skin contact and feed them while you sit together. Over time, your child will become accustomed to your scent and it will help to calm them down. Pro Tip: Sneak in a nap during this cozy bonding time.
2. Baby Wearing
If you’re looking for ways to bond with your baby while tackling your to-do list, babywearing is the perfect option for you. Getting your baby situated and comfortable in a baby carrier is a great way to keep them close while also keeping your hands free. This is another great way for them to become accustomed to your scent, the sound of your voice and the movement of your body, establishing comfort with being around you.
3. Read to Your Baby
Looking for ways to help your little one become accustomed to your voice? Reading to your baby is a great way to establish a bond and come closer to your baby. Baby books are always a good option, and letting them get a look at the bright shapes and colors is great for early development. However, you can really read anything and it will be beneficial for your baby. If you’re working on a novel or you have an article you’ve been meaning to read, consider reading it out loud to your little one. Whether they’re settled in their baby carrier or cuddled in your lap, this is a great option for bonding with your baby.
4. Take the Nights
It takes a while for a newborn baby to establish a schedule, and even then you’re a few months away from sleeping through the night. Let your wife sleep and take on the night shift. Between late night feedings, diaper changes and some time spent together in the rocking chair, you’re bound to bond with your baby and your baby will come to find comfort from being near you. Taking the nights can be challenging, but it’s definitely rewarding! Pro Tip: If your baby is having trouble settling down at night, try bundling them up and walking outside to show them it is dark. Say hello to the moon and help them orient to sleepy time.
5. Paternity Leave
While not everyone has the privilege of being able to take advantage of paternity leave, if it’s an option for you, we highly recommend that you take it. Whether it’s for two weeks or two months, taking some time to be at home with your baby after their arrival will be well worth it. The changes that come with a newborn can be challenging at times, so not only will you have that uninterrupted time to bond with your baby, but you’ll be available to help your spouse with some of the newborn transitions.
6. Be Part of Routines
Your newborn has a number of daily routines that helps them to grow and establish good habits. While you won’t be able to be a part of every routine, do what you can to participate in those that you can. Whether it’s bathtime, the evening bedtime routine or getting your little one ready in the morning, getting involved and being a part of what you can will definitely help you come closer to your baby and help establish a bond.
7. Get Out Together
Take your baby out and experience something new together! It could be as simple as a trip to the grocery store or as adventurous as going on a hike together. Be sure to pack your bag with all of the essentials to get you through your outing together. You could even tack on some diaper bag attachments to ensure you have a place for everything you need, from bottles and pacifiers to cell phones and car keys.
8. Establish Traditions
It’s never too early to establish traditions with your children. Don’t feel like you have to do anything elaborate! It could be as simple as singing a song to your baby before bedtime, or reading a short baby book together before you leave for work in the morning. As they get older, it will be something that they anticipate and look forward to, making this a great way to establish a bond with your child. Pro Tip: You can use sunset as a wondering way to take a break for you and baby and help set their natural rhythm towards sleepy time.
So as you begin your fatherhood journey, be sure to take some time to establish a bond with your newborn baby. Whether you’re taking advantage of babywearing, reading to your little one, or establishing some fun new traditions together, there are plenty of ways to let your baby know that they’re loved and that you’re there for them.