Whenever talks about bonding with babies come up, the images of a mother and her baby tend to readily come to mind. Meanwhile just as it is essential for mothers and their babies to develop a deep connection, it’s also important for fathers to spend quality time bonding with their babies.
An increasing number of researches have suggested a strong correlation between early father-infant bonds and the happiness of the entire family. Some of the benefits are listed below.
First on this list is the fact that when dads spend time with their newborns and begin developing a strong relationship with them from the very beginning, the child’s physical and mental development is significantly boosted. A study confirms this when compared to children whose fathers took a more hands-off approach.
Strong father-child bond can help counter issues, such as depression later on in life. Men who report that they had a good relationship with their fathers during childhood were found to be better equipped to handle stress.
Children who experienced close interactions with their fathers from an early age tend to be more successful academically, have better relationships with their peers and less likely to get involved with crime or abuse drugs and alcohol.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, however, as a father, bonding with your baby is not any big deal. Check these few fun ways through which you can get this done.
Cradle Baby Close
When mom is breastfeeding a baby, she cuddles him close to her chest and baby has a perfect view of her eyes. When you are bottle feeding him, hold him in the same position, allowing your little one to gaze up at you.
Take the Night Shift
Give mom the chance to catch some extra sleep and become the “rescuer of the night” when baby cries. This will give you and baby precious time alone. Be sure to have a few bottles kept away for late-night feedings.
Soothe Her Tears
Take a try at soothing her tears. Try singing to her, walking her around, gently rocking, or find the closest pacifier for her to suck on. This way, she can learn that Mom isn’t the only one, who can give her what she needs.
Make Silly Faces
You can definitely be the funny guy. Start by just making silly faces that will make your baby glow with a smile. As your baby gets older try fun games like peekaboo.
Take Him for a Walk
Babies love fresh air, so take your little bundle for a stroll around the block. Try using a sling or carrier instead of your stroller. This will keep baby close to you throughout the walk. Just be sure baby is slathered in sunscreen if it’s hot outside and bundled up if it’s a little chilly. Keep the baby close and feeling calm and safe by wearing a sling carrier while taking a walk or doing light tasks around the house.
Try a Baby Massage
Babies respond to touch, and a simple way to soothe and relax them is with a baby massage. When your baby is quiet and happy (you won’t want to try it on a fussy baby) take 10 to 15 minutes to gently rub her legs, belly, arms, and neck.
Special Play Time
Set aside time every day specifically for playtime with your little guy. Make it part of his daily routine, so he expects his daddy time on the regular.
Daddy Dance Party
Babies love music and they love to dance. Even when your baby is just a few months old, you can start having dance parties. Turn on some music (or sing a special song) then sway around the room with baby. As your baby gets older you can help her stand and dance (a.k.a. bounce) till she is able to groove to her own moves.
Take on Diaper Duty
Sure, not many fathers want to do this but diaper duty is also a time to bond. Even though it may be a little smelly, you get to talk to her and make silly noises, as she gets a fresh change. Sharing diaper duty with mom may not be the most fun time spent with baby, but it’s a great opportunity for dads to talk or sing to their babies.
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Keep baby close by strapping on the carrier and toting him around while you tackle household chores like vacuuming. Plus it’s double duty: Baby bonding with his daddy and cleaning up around the house.
Be Around him When He is Ill
When your baby gets ill, it’s important for you to play a nurturing role; make your little one’s sick days yours too. Go with him to the doctor for checkups too, so you can hear from the doctor how he’s developing and growing. It should not be your wife’s duty absolutely.
Be a Part of the Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime schedule is very important to helping your baby sleep through the night. Choose a part of the routine you want to be involved in like bath time. This will help baby understand that when dad says its bath time, it will be bedtime soon too.
Once the baby is old enough, dads can have a blast engaging in physical play with their kids, such as giving horsey rides, playing balls with them and other games. Not only is this sort of play fun for both dad and child, but it also helps to develop a child’s sense of balance and coordination.
While dads are encouraged to tune into and trust their fatherly instincts, experts are of the belief that although moms and dads bond with their babies in their own special ways, when both of these bonds are fostered from day one, parents and kids alike are bound to enjoy a lifetime of confidence, peace and outstanding greatness.