New dads reveal their favourite bonding activities with their baby
It’s not uncommon for a first-time dad to feel overwhelmed and worried by the arrival of a new baby or by parenthood in general. For many men this may be the first real contact with a new baby and as a result they may nervous about looking after such a tiny bundle. But fathers have an important role to play and can have a strong relationship with their baby from day one, providing they make the effort.
We know that you want your fair share of cherished moments, so don’t worry, we can reveal some favourite bonding activities of many dads that can help ensure you have a strong relationship with your baby from day one.
The first thing to do is to spend time with your baby. One of your baby’s most important senses is touch, especially in the first few weeks, and gently cuddling is a great way to naturally bond with your baby. Enjoying plenty of skin to skin contact can be one of the best ways to develop closeness. It allows your baby to become familiar with your scent and your heartbeat becomes a soothing sound too. Get involved in the day-to-day care, from nappy changes and burping to bathing and bedtime. Bonding isn’t just about lots of cuddles- it’s about supporting your baby’s basic care needs too.
Lots of dads are just big kids at heart and playtime is another great opportunity to bond. Although you’re limited with the games you can play at this developmental stage, babies will respond to things like “peek-a-boo” and simply pulling silly faces from around 6 months. Try sticking your tongue out – you will be amazed to discover that your baby mimics you. Singing and talking whilst cradling your baby will help establish you as a constant, reliable presence in their life. Reading or making up bedtime stories, even with funny voices, can be an enjoyable habit for you and your baby to take into later childhood.
So, lose your inhibitions and have fun!
- Walk time
All babies love the stimulation of the great outdoors so go for a walk, but make sure your little one is well bundled up if it’s cool outside or protected with sunscreen and a hat if it’s sunny. Our very good friends at Blinky designed a revolutionary go-anywhere buggy blanket that has you covered "come rain, shine and sleep". The Blinky is a fleece lined, reflective buggy blanket with a rain cover, sun shade (UV50+) and sleep shade built-in. Check them out!
You can use your pram but a sling or carrier might be more fun and help bring the two of you closer together as you go about your daily routine.
It can be easy to feel neglected in the new family pecking order as mum takes charge of the day-to-day baby care – especially if she is breastfeeding but once the baby is fed, you can take over by burping, singing, playing, or just holding your baby. Also, if your partner is pumping her breast milk, you can take over some of your baby's feedings. This way you and your baby will have some extra bonding time and your partner can get some much-needed rest. Those middle of the night feedings, when it’s just you and your baby, can become a very special time.
The relationship between mother and baby is something special – but the dad and baby bond is extra special too. So, whether you're a new dad or experienced in the baby game, it's always good to learn some new tips to sharpen your skills, build your confidence and enhance your bond with your baby.
Early pregnancy loss deserves empathy
Establishing good sleep habits for you and your newborn
Baby Colic - All Your Questions Answered
Dads’ helpful tips to enhance bonding with your new baby
Why “mummy time” is essential for a happy home?
How to keep your baby comfortable
A fussy baby or a baby in pain?
You and your baby – the first few days