Bond Man: Top 10 Tips for Dad
Mom might be physically responsible for feeding the baby, but there are lots of ways for Dad to bond with baby.
Yes, mom is physically responsible for nursing, but you are critical to its success. You may have already sensed that it can be very challenging, but also know it’s essential for your baby.
10 tips for bonding with baby in your own way:
- Really, the only thing dads can't do is breastfeed. Everything else – from soothing and playing with the baby to changing diapers — is a win, win, win: rewarding for the baby, satisfying for dad, and a great help to mom.
- We understand sleep deprivation – it’s hard on everyone. But, when possible, bring baby to mom for night feedings. After feedings at any time, offer to rock, burp or sing to the baby.
- A very critical job is to watch for signs of post partum depression. Contact a medical professional if you see mom: excessively restless or irritable; feeling sad, depressed or crying a lot; listless; or experiencing headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations, numbness, or hyperventilation.
- It’s understandable to want to bond with the baby through feedings. However, it takes mom and baby about four weeks to firmly establish breastfeeding, and introducing a bottle too early could affect her supply and possibly derail breastfeeding success.
- Take the baby out for a walk for some “bond” time, and suggest that your partner have her own rejuvenating “me” time.
- What you’ve heard is true: happy mom, happy family. Helping to pick up around the house, put together a meal or run errands allows mom to focus on nursing and the baby.
- Visitors or family with well meaning - but unsolicited - advice often backfires. Both you and your partner will appreciate your shielding against these “words of wisdom.”
- Nursing can sometimes be challenging, especially early on. Offer encouraging words to mom, letting her know she is doing a great job. By being supportive, she is more likely to stick with it.
- A baby shakes up the entire household, especially for older siblings. If possible, take time off and do activities together. This helps them to transition to the new family dynamics and also gives your partner time to tend to the baby and rest
- There’s a lot of change, but the one constant should be your couple relationship. While you’re bonding with the new baby, don’t forget to nurture your couple relationship, too.