If you’re a new dad or dad to be looking for the best ways to bond with your newborn baby, you’ve come to the right place. Here I’ll walk you through my main tips and advice on dad and newborn baby bonding. You can be just as involved as mom, you have maternal instincts too! let’s unlock them…
Skin to skin
We all know as soon as the baby is born they want to put them on moms chest for skin to skin, but dads you should get in on the action too. This helps create a bond with your baby like nothing else, Beautiful moments you’ll never forget.
The main benefits of dads and newborn baby skin to skin:
- Helps to create a bond with your baby right after they are born.
- Will help towards to regulate babies body temperature.
- Strengthens your babies immune system.
- Soothes and calms baby, reducing stress hormone levels.
- Increases babies skin hydration.
- Regulates your babies heart rate and breathing.
- Your baby will pick up on your scent, this will comfort them. (one tip on this, don’t go too heavy on the deodorant as they prefer your natural scent).
One of the most important benefits of dad and newborn baby skin to skin is that dads brain will release a hormone called oxytocin, this let’s dad feel more relaxed and confident with baby, brings out a nurturing instinct which enables dad to respond more efficiently to babies needs, you are much more likely to build a strong long term bond.
Get involved with feeding baby
As a dad, feeding your newborn baby can be one of the most rewarding experiences. I remember I was the first one to feed our son Elijah his first-ever bottle, you can read more about that over at MAM baby UK’s blog where I wrote up a post for them on ‘Things I didn’t know before becoming a dad’.
If you are going for breastfeeding this is a little more difficult for dad to get involved with but you can still help out by making sure mum is comfortable, get everything ready as in, breast pumps if mum is going to express. Ideally, if your baby will switch between breast and bottle without a problem, you can get much more involved.
The main benefits of dad getting involved in feeding:
- Creates dad and baby bond through caregiving.
- Enables dad to share special moments with your baby.
- Takes stress off mum and enables here to rest as you can share the load eg. night feeds.
- You become the main caregiver, installing trust between you and your baby.
Tips on feeding your newborn baby:
- Change your babies nappy before a feed, so you don’t have to lie them down straight afterwards, they can struggle to keep milk down in the early stages.
- Get into a comfortable position, you can even use a feeding pillow.
- If you’re holding your baby, swap arms every now and then to prevent putting pressure on just one side of your babies head, as their skulls are soft this can course them to go flat on one side (This happened with my son Elijah, don’t worry though it corrects it’s self when they are up and about).
- Look into your babies eyes as you feed them.
- Burp them halfway between feeding and after.
- Hold them upright for at least half-hour after feeding to help their milk go down.
If your wife is breastfeeding and you can’t get too involved, help her out in any way that you can, and don’t worry there are plenty of other ways for you to bond with your little bundle of joy.
If you’re bottle-feeding I highly remomend using MAM Baby easy start anti-colic bottles, they worked wonders for my son and his reflux.
Make time for cuddles
Having cuddles with your little one is precious for both of you, your babies sense on touch is one of their most important senses, they won’t be able to see much of you in the early stages so it’s important they can feel you. This is very comforting for them.
Hold them so their head is placed on your chest, they will be settled by the sound of your heartbeat and warmth of your body.
It’s very easy to get too comfortable whilst cuddling with your baby but you should always avoid falling asleep whilst they are on you to prevent SIDS, always follow sleep safety practices.
Related artical – ‘Top 5 new parent must haves’
Talk, sing and make plenty of eye contact with your baby
What better way to bond with your baby that plenty of interaction? they will already recognise your voice by the time they arrive so this will be a big comfort to them.
Tips on interacting with your baby:
- Talk to your baby in a nice gentle tone, honestly talk to them about anything, I have been having full conversations with my two for the last two years and haven’t got a sentence back yet.
- Get up nice and close to their face when talking and making eye contact, as their sight will not be developed at first.
- Sing them a nice soothing lullaby, our favourite was the classic ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ I always found my babies liked my singing better than mums, I believe it was because I have a lower more monotone voice.
- Let them grab and explore your face, this is what they will be most focused on, pull some funny faces and see if you can get a little smile out of them.
Most importantly, have fun with your baby get to know their little quirks and what they enjoy most. All babies are different!
Soothe and comfort your newborn baby
If I can tell you one thing is that my firstborn has always been a daddy’s boy. When you take on board all the bonding tips I have given you coupled with the maternal instinct that kicks in as soon as you see and hold your newborn for the first time, you will realise your main focus from there on will be too, protect and comfort them in any way you can.
It’s an unconditional love like no other.
Main tips on soothing your newborn baby:
- Hold your newborn close to your chest so they can hear your heartbeat.
- Gently rock them back and forth.
- Sing them a lullaby.
- Gently talk to them.
- Pat or rub them on the back.
- Walk around the room with them, sometimes distraction can be the key to stop crying.
Sometimes a crying newborn can be very stressful, especially when there are no obvious signs, remember to just keep calm and show plenty of patience, this will help keep your newborn calm too. Once your little one has settled though you will feel a great sense of calm and peace.
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
To round this article off I will just say congratulations on becoming a new dad or dad to be, I hope my tips on dad and newborn bonding will bring you some sort of relief and provide you with some comfort in the weeks and months ahead. You’ve got this.
If anybody has any other tips they would like to share for new or expecting dads on bonding with their newborn, leave a comment down below, all advice is much appreciated and will go a long way in helping other dads out.
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