We’ve all been conditioned to believe that bonding with our babies happens immediately, but that is not always the case, particularly with dads.
Sometimes it can be love at first sight, while others can take weeks or months for that bond to click into place.
This is completely normal – every parent and baby are different – but it can be incredibly stressful for the new parents.
You can do things to help this bond develop, and here are 7 tips for dads who struggle bonding with their baby.
Following these tips will encourage that bond to snap into place, but remember, this may not happen overnight, so don’t get discouraged.
The dynamics in your life and relationship have changed dramatically, so give yourself grace for an adjustment period to start bonding with your baby.
7 Ways You Can Bon With Your Baby – Stop The Bonding Struggles!
Touch is compelling. It’s how a lot of us explore the world and get grounded in our surroundings. One of the best ways that you can bond with your baby is through skin-to-skin contact.
This type of contact will get them used to your scent and how you feel, making them – and you – feel more comfortable.
Skin-to-skin contact can happen during almost any activity. When you put your baby to sleep, take off your shirt and rock them gently to sleep.
It can also happen when you feed your baby, hold them, carry them, and so much more.
Skin-to-skin contact is essential for all parents to bond with their children, so don’t take this simple activity for granted when trying to create an emotional attachment.
If you are a dad struggling to bond with your baby, skin-to-skin is an awesome tool!
Like skin-to-skin contact, a gentle massage will also help create a bonding moment between you and your baby. Not only will this help relieve stress in your newborn baby, especially if they are premature, but it can also help provide comfort to you as you rhythmically massage the tension away.
Using gentle motions, start at the feet, moving your thumbs in upward motions.
You can gently squeeze each toe delicately. Then, you can loosely wrap your hands around their legs, gently twisting up towards the head.
Walk your fingers from the stomach outwards, then back to loosely twisting the limbs.
During this whole process, quietly talk to your baby. This will help them begin to associate your voice with calming feelings, and the tactile touch will help you develop your bond.
Assist with Care
Midnight feedings are never fun, but these can help you bond with your baby, especially as you rock them back to sleep. Consider singing to them, gently holding them against your body.
Bathing them, changing diapers and all the basic care activities help you to bond with your baby. Even burping after feeding is a great way to hold your baby close and bond.
Practicing these tasks is all part of your preparation for being a dad.
Often, care is left primarily to mom, but when you help with these life-giving activities, you reinforce your caretaker bond.
This responsibility helps deepen the parental instinct, so give your partner a break and start sharing the childcare.
It is a critical way to help you bond with your baby.
Set a Daddy-Baby Routine
Setting structure for our babies is essential for their development and our peace of mind as parents, so make sure that you set a father and baby routine to get that bonding experience just between the two of you.
It can be an activity that only you and your baby do, like reading books or talking a specific walk. It could also be that you’re in charge of bath time or a specific feeding.
Whatever it is, make sure you execute with consistency.
You and your baby will start to look forward to this activity, and it is essential for both you and your baby to bond.
Interacting with Your Baby
In addition to special activities, routine interactions with your baby will help you to bond with them. Talking to your baby will help you feel closer to them, as will simply looking at them.
Gazing at your baby is a potent tool in helping to develop both your bond and that of your baby.
We often look at the things we love, so this will help foster those feelings.
Every time you interact with your baby, you build a bond, helping establish yourself as an authority figure. It also reduces the chances of you getting frustrated with your newborn.
Your baby will also be learning from how you act around them, so if you are not very hands-on or interested in their activities, they too may become disinterested in you.
It doesn’t have to be over the top, but basic interactions are essential in helping your baby bonding sessions.
Mimic Your Baby
This is standard father-baby bonding! I find this tremendous fun too.
From the moment they are born, your baby is starting to learn how to control their body and communicate with the world around them.
When they start to make sounds or move around, you can mimic their movements and noises. This will help them understand what they look like while completing these activities while also understanding that communication is a two-way street.
Your baby will also mimic your behaviors so take care – little eyes and ears everywhere!
Don’t Forget to Play!
New babies are stressful, and if you haven’t bonded with them right away, it can be even worse.
While your anxiety may be high, don’t forget to stop, take a breath and enjoy the baby stage while you have the time.
This includes regular playtime with your baby. This will look different at different stages of your baby’s development, so start on the floor, shaking toys to get their attention and helping them develop their fine-motor skills and level up to more complex toys over time.
Just don’t start doing this in the middle of the night!
While it may be easier for the mom to bond with the baby because they have carried them and often are breastfeeding, this doesn’t mean that you won’t bond as closely with your baby.
It may take time, but your bond will click in as long as you are engaged with your child. It’s worth reading my rookie dad’s guide to newborns to build up your knowledge.
And if you need more inspiration, here are some newborn quotes for dads!