Becoming a parent to a newborn is usually both a challenging and exciting experience. Too often, education and support focus on the birthing mother with minimal attention given to the father. But baby bonding for dads is crucial, and it can be helpful to have some guidance.
One of our favorite things about the bökee is that it’s ideal for moms, dads, or anyone who is helping feed your baby. We began our parenting journey exhausted and overwhelmed, as many people do. And we hope that the bökee products will bring a little peace and ease to your life. Shop our collection of innovative products.
In fact, bökee is the brainchild of two dads who are very hands-on fathers. They figured out that sometimes being hands-on means you only get to use one hand because you’re holding a baby! So they created this product to bring a little ease to growing families.
Why Should I Bond With My Baby?
Bonding refers to the intense attachment you develop with your infant. Research tells us this bond has a significant impact on the mental and physical well-being of your newborn. Strong bonds between a father and child can help counter mental health issues later in life.
Dads also have less stress and increased confidence when they spend time bonding with their babies. Dads need to understand that their level of involvement with their infant does matter. But they also don’t need to feel anxious about how they make this connection. Fathers bond with their newborns uniquely and already have many skills to make this transition fantastic.
Baby Bonding for Dads Starts Before the Birth
The good news is that you don’t need to wait until your baby arrives to start building a relationship with them. Jump-start your bonding by attending prenatal visits with your partner whenever possible. Seeing your baby move on the ultrasound and hearing the heartbeat help create a connection long before you meet your child.
If your partner is ok with it, gently massage their belly, and soon your baby may sense your familiar touch and the sound of your voice. Plus, you’re likely to feel some fun kicks from your baby!
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to baby bonding for dads is fear. If a father feels worried about his skills or is anxious about how his partner is doing, it can be more difficult to bond.
Combat that uncertainty by learning all you can. Consider taking a class or talking with other dads to learn everything you can about your pending arrival. Take time to understand how your baby is growing and how your partner feels each step of the way. This knowledge is empowering.
Make sure to talk with your partner about your anticipated birth plan and how you can offer support to her throughout the process. Although she’s in the driver’s seat, so to speak, there is plenty for you to do, as well. Be ready to advocate for your partner, your baby, and yourself when labor begins to begin the bonding process.
Bonding with Your Newborn
First, let’s be clear. There is no right or wrong way for you to connect with your baby. Some dads feel that bond immediately, while for others, it may take some time. That’s ok! Have patience, and don’t worry if you don’t feel all the rainbows and sunshine on day one.
Bonding happens most easily when you can be with your baby for all the mundane tasks in those early weeks. Changing diapers, giving baths, and snuggling on the couch are all excellent bonding activities. So if you can take family leave, go for it. You’ll not only have several weeks to connect with your child, but you’ll also be able to support your partner as she heals.
Here are some of the best ways to bond with your infant:
One of the best ways to have baby bonding time with dad is through skin-to-skin contact, also called kangaroo care. Your touch helps your baby feel secure, soothes their crying, and even improves mental development in your infant.
Amazingly, this type of touch allows your body to help regulate your newborn’s heart rate and body temperature. Skin-to-skin contact contributes to stress reduction and boosting confidence for fathers.
If your baby is taking a bottle, handling some of the feedings each day is a great way to bond and enjoy some skin-to-skin contact. Plus, it can give mom a much-needed chance to rest. The bökee was created for this purpose. It allows you to hold and soothe your baby while you prep their bottle. Hungry babies are usually wailing, and we wanted parents to be able to console them while still making the bottle.
Babywearing is another excellent way to bond and has many similar benefits as skin-to-skin touch. To soothe your baby, wear them close in a sling or carrier while doing tasks around the house or getting outside for a walk. Learning some great baby-wearing tips for dads can help you to do this with ease.
Talking, singing, and reading to your newborn are important for bonding and early language development. Matching your baby’s movements and sounds can help you learn to communicate, and eye contact helps your baby recognize you and trust you.
Interestingly, fathers tend to use more sophisticated vocabulary with their babies and toddlers than mothers do. While moms frequently simplify their language with babies, dads often do not. This difference can help children develop stronger language skills.
Another great way to bond with your infant is to play each day. Newborn playtime ideas include tummy time, baby toys, or making exaggerated facial expressions. As your baby gets older, more and more playful activities will be appropriate.
Don’t worry so much about what you do to be playful with your baby. Instead, just make it a habit to enjoy a little playtime each day.
Helping With Baby’s Care
Bath time is one of the best opportunities for baby bonding for dads. This is a great chance to sing and play with your infant, and a gentle massage for your baby can be soothing as you get them ready for bedtime. Your baby will see bath time as a positive experience.
Take part in your newborn’s mealtimes to increase your connection with them. If mom is breastfeeding, offer to burp the baby once the feeding is done. If your partner pumps, you can take over some of the feedings. And for formula feeding, both parents can take turns.
You can be everyone’s hero AND bond with your baby by taking over a lot of the diaper duties. This task offers the perfect chance to talk and sing to your baby or just be silly. Goofy voices and facial expressions (which, in our experience, dads are experts at doing) help keep your baby entertained and add to quality bonding time.
Don’t Overthink It
When trying to bond with your baby, don’t let your head get in the way. Trust your instincts and just enjoy your baby in whatever way feels right to you. If you want to be outside hiking with your little one attached to you, do it. Do you want to watch your favorite football team and give your newborn a play-by-play? Go for it!
Strengthening your bond with your baby can produce great results later in life for both of you. So relax as much as possible and enjoy the snuggles.
And when you need an extra hand to help with those nighttime feedings or soothing your teething baby, reach for one of our helpful bökee products. We’ve got you covered!