Bonding Tips for New Dads
Many new fathers don't know quite what to do with their new babies. The truth is it doesn't really matter what you do with Baby, just that you do things with him or her.
Wondering how to get started? Try these tips:
- Hold your baby. You don't have to do anything special, just hold her. You may want to try kangaroo care—holding your bare baby to your bare chest. You can sit anywhere comfortable and either take your shirt off or wear a shirt you can unbutton, and lay your newborn directly on your chest. Put a blanket over her so she stays warm. To make it even more special, read or talk to her so she can hear the comforting sound of your voice. She may even fall asleep like that. In fact, you may as well.
- Feed your baby. If your partner is breastfeeding (and has a routine pretty well established), ask her to pump a little bit every day so you can give your baby a bottle. It's important that the two of you share some valuable Daddy-Baby time together. And it is good for Baby to know that you, too, can take care of her hunger needs.
- Take a walk with your tiny one in a baby carrier (Baby Bjorn, baby sling, etc.). You can also just carry your newborn. When she's a bit older, you can take her out in a stroller, too.
- Read, talk, or sing to your baby. She needs to hear the sound of your voice. You can read anything:Sports Illustrated, an Abraham Lincoln biography, really anything … try not to read your work papers, though! (By the way, Baby can hear your voice after the fifteenth week in the womb.)
- Hold your partner while she holds your baby. This is another good way to build intimacy and closeness in your family.
- Change diapers/dress your baby. Just as with feeding, your baby needs to know you can meet her core needs. Not only does changing diapers and dressing your little one help to build a bond, but it is one-on-one time that you'll find yourself cherishing while easing the burden on your partner.
- Trim or file her nails. Babies nails grow fast and can cause quite a bit of damage to their delicate skin (and yours too!) when they get too long. You don't have to use nail clippers if doing so makes you nervous; a nail file works well, too.