Bonding with Daddy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen pregnant, I felt very close to our babies. I knew their kick routines, when they liked to hang high and bounce down low. I spoke with them when out shopping “by myself” and never really felt disconnected from them.

My husband says it took time for him to bond with his kiddos. Did he love them always? Of course. The sense of closeness grew over time though. Even in those first months, I breastfed and took on the stay-at-home responsibilities that just offered me more time with our wee little ones. This situation is not out of the ordinary. Still, dads are able to bond from before birth by talking to the fetus and supporting mommy (and other kiddos at home). Once the baby comes, consider these options, most of which can happen from the get-go:

  • Feedings: Holding baby close during bottle feedings gives babe both a chance to drink dad in and feel his closeness, familiarize with his scent. As we exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months, pumping a bottle when I could “do it myself” was not my most favorite thing. My husband appreciated my effort so that he could feel included in baby’s early days, a time when many dads can feel a disconnect as mom often provides for so many of the initial needs. If that’s a no-go for whatever reason, maybe dad can have the task of burping instead!
  • Diaper changing: Aside from giving mom a break, these offered us a time for dad to make jokes, sing to baby, entertain, and make a game of diaper changes.
  • Reading: There are numerous benefits to reading to babe, and bonding is a part of them! Take advantage of this by keeping reading a part of the daily routine if possible.
  • Stay home sick: Whether mommy works or not, dad staying home when baby is sick not only offers reprieve if mom is at home; it also offers dad and baby the chance to stick it out together. Dad gets the chance to offer his presence as a primary source of comfort in a great time of need.
  • One-on-one outings: Going on adventures together gives the little one a chance to rely only on daddy for support and care while in a possibly unfamiliar setting. As babe gets older, this time can become a special time that everyone in the family looks forward to!
  • Babywear: In all of these things, baby wearing offers unparalleled access to daddy’s closeness, comfort, voice, smell, and perspective. Wraps and carriers aren’t just made for mamas!
  • Play time: Whether it’s rolling over, learning to walk, singing songs, or playing with a toy, dads have a way of putting a fun spin on the ordinary daily activities. Going for a walk is a favorite pastime of my husband’s and sharing walks with his children as they grow is an important way my husband connects and shares his life with our sons.
  • Cleaning house: As kiddos grow, cleaning the house with dad offers the opportunity to see a man participating in essential tasks that are often proscribed to moms, giving kiddos a more equitable understanding of chores. It also offers the message that mom and dad are on the same team when it comes to clean up time.
  • Bath time:  About 5% of our week involves the bath time routine. It is a big deal in a household of little ones, so dad’s involvement offers the opportunity to be involved in the ordinary ins and outs of daily life.
  • Night soothing: If you have a bottle on hand, or if babe is old enough to do without food in the night, covering the night shift is one way to get to know babe in a whole new light… in the dark! There is something soothing and deeply noteworthy about calming and rocking a baby in the quiet of the dark night. It is an experience daddy deserves to take part in too!

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.


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