Research has shown that babies recognise familiar sounds or voices from when they are still in the womb. They can distinguish between their parents’ and strangers’ voices from about 30 weeks of pregnancy.
Why is it important for babies to bond with their Dads?
If Dads think that their level of involvement with their newborn baby isn’t important, then they should reconsider.
- Children that experienced a close bond with their Dads from an early age, tend to have better relationships with their peers, are more successful academically and are less likely to get involved with drug and alcohol abuse or crime.
- Fathers that have a special bond and spend time with their newborns are less likely to experience stress and will have increased confidence.
- A strong father-child bond can help prevent issues such as depression at a later stage in life.
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Have a look at these baby bonding tips for new Dads
There are a lot of good things associated with infant massage such as relief for colic, easing tension, assisting with breathing and digestion and growth spurts. Massaging your baby can stimulate your baby as well as help the bonding process between baby and Dad. Make sure you research which lotions and oils are safe to use on your baby’s delicate newborn skin.
Gently massage baby’s tummy, legs, arms and neck for about 10-15 minutes. Adding infant massaging to your bath time routine can also promote healthy sleeping habits which are essential from the beginning of a baby’s life. However, baby massaging should not be tried on a fussy baby.
Read also: 7 Things Dad Can Do to Help During Labour
2.Sharing a bath
For many babies it can be startling to be put in a bath and it can be quite scary at first. Allowing your baby to have a bath with his Dad is a wonderful bonding and soothing experience.
3.Making use of baby carriers or slings
Not only does this using a baby carrier help you to do a few chores by allowing your hands to be free, it also keeps baby close to Dad’s heart and allowing close contact.
- Including Dad in baby-related chores
Get Dad to assist with diaper changes, feeds or putting baby to sleep. This will establish a great bond between baby and Dad from an early age.
Take over the “night shift “by feeding baby at night. This will give you precious alone time with your baby and will give Mom a chance to rest and catch up on some sleep.
Babies love rhythmic patting on their backs or bums. This can also help your baby to fall asleep.
- Taking walks
There are great healthy benefits associated with getting your baby outdoors, even at a young age. Take baby for a walk in the stroller to the park or in your neighbourhood. Just make sure you apply sunscreen if it’s hot outside and dress baby appropriately for hot or cold days.
Reading is an excellent way to bond with your baby and to establish a pattern for later in life. Research shows that reading a book to babies or children can help them get a head start on reading for when they are older. Hold them close while you read.
- Skin-to-skin contact
Human touch is very soothing for both parent and baby. Holding them and gently stroking them is re-assuring and makes them feel safe and protected.
Echoing and mirroring baby’s movements and sounds are the first step when it comes to communicating with your baby. Make sure you talk and sing to your baby throughout the day while looking into his eyes. It may feel strange at first, but it will feel and become more natural the more you keep it up.
A Baby usually gets cuddled and held close to a mother’s chest when breastfeeding. Baby usually has a perfect view into Mom’s eyes. When you’re bottle feeding him, allow your little one to look up at you while holding him in the same cradling position.
Put on a special song and sway around the room. Babies love music and dancing with Daddy is a great bonding activity.
Make silly faces or when your baby get’s older play peekaboo. There is also a huge market for baby toys that can assist you with your bonding experience as well as helping baby through the different development stages and milestones. Ensure that you make playtime with Dad a part of your daily routine. Set aside a specific time every day to play with your baby.
- The Yoee Baby development toys are great for engaging baby’s sensory, cognitive and physical development from as early as birth. These all in one toys are made from premium and super soft fabric and build a great foundation for baby brain and physical development while promoting bonding time between parent and baby. It also makes a great baby shower gift.
- Another great toy for playtime is the Infantino spiral activity toy which can be wrapped around cribs, car strollers or car seat handles. It’s perfect for ages 0-12 months and includes four hanging toys which is great for sensory interaction.
It is just as important for new Dads to bond with their newborn babies as it is for new Moms. Bonding is essential for newborn babies and most infants are ready to bond immediately. There is still a lot to be learned about bonding but there is no question that the strong ties between parents and their children provide baby with a sense of security and a positive self-esteem when growing up.
Bonding with your child is one of the most gratifying and enjoyable experiences of parenthood. It takes a while to understand your newborn and all the ways you can interact to establish that special bond. Not every baby is the same. What may work for your baby will not necessary work for the next. Dads play a special role in a child’s life. Creating a strong bond from the beginning will benefit your child in the long run and strengthen your relationship from an early age.