There is nothing quite like the bond that a new mom and baby have with one another. You probably felt a connection when you first found out you were pregnant and fell in love the first time you felt him or her move inside of you during pregnancy. Once the doctor placed your baby in your arms and you nursed him or her for the first time, that bond only strengthened and grew.
While you may feel incredibly connected to your new little one, your husband or partner may feel a little left out. Many new dads feel this way, and some may even feel jealous of the strong bond you and your new little one have with one another. Helping Dad bond with baby will help your relationship with one another and help your new family grow together.
Encourage Dad to Cuddle with Baby
You will be holding your new baby a lot when you are nursing him or her, but as soon as you are done, encourage Dad to cuddle with your new little one. He can swaddle baby and rock him or her or hold baby close to his body in a sling. Making eye contact during cuddling can help make the experience even more meaningful.
Don’t Correct Him
You will soon realize why the term, “Mother knows best” exists when you are able to distinguish your baby’s “hunger” cry from their “tired” cry. When it’s Dad’s turn to change a diaper or put your baby to bed, it’s natural to want to jump in with your new-found knowledge and coach him on exactly how to care for your little one. As hard as it is, don’t correct him. Give him space to care for your little one without any “help” to give him the chance to learn and bond.
Ask Him to Take the Night Shift
Your growing little one may have their days and nights mixed up for the first few weeks, which can quickly result in exhaustion for you. Ask him to take the night shift and let you catch up on some much-needed rest. Dad can feed the baby a bottle with pumped milk or get up, change the baby’s diaper and bring him or her to you to nurse. After nursing, he can rock the baby back to sleep and tuck them back into bed.
A change of scenery is good for everyone. Asking Dad to take the baby on a walk in a stroller or baby carrier can help soothe fussiness and give them time to explore together. Your baby will love looking around at all of the new sights while listening to Dad talk to him or her. Make sure to tuck an extra blanket around baby if it’s chilly out and protect his or her fair skin with a cover if it’s sunny.
Share Music with Baby
Listening to music can help your baby’s brain develop. Whether Dad likes to jam out on the weekends with his buddies or just enjoys listening to his favorite songs, he can share his love of music with your new little one. Singing to the baby, playing musical instruments or just listening to his favorite songs (at an appropriate sound level), can help your little one develop a love for music. Dancing and clapping along with the beat can make the experience even more fun for the both of them.
Making silly faces, telling silly stories or gently swinging baby back and forth will put a smile on both baby’s face and on Dad’s. If your husband feels stressed about being around a new baby, silliness and laughing can help ease the tension.
What your husband is feeling is completely normal. Not feeling bonded with your new baby right away does not mean he’s not a wonderful father. Reassure him that bonding can take time and that you appreciate everything he is doing for your new family.
That intense attachment you feel for your new little one will help you through the challenging experiences you will have as a mom. Encouraging Dad to take steps to bond with your new baby will help you both as you navigate this brand-new world of parenthood.