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Friday, October 7, 2005

Dads and Bonding


Fun Ways for Dads to Bond with their Baby

Dads and other familymembers want to bond and develop relationships with the newest member of the family, but may not know how to go about it.

  • Try a bath. As soon as the cord and circumcision are healed, bring baby right into the tub with you. The skin-to-skin touch is a great way to relax together. The flowing water also has a calming effect. Watch baby go limp and totally relax while holding their heads tilted back under comfortable warm running water or by doing this with a cup of water. Young babies actually seem to try to tilt their head back for more exposure. Baby can also come into the shower and be held close.
  • Burping although not necessarily "fun," men seem to get great satisfaction out of eliciting burps.
  • Nap time for baby is a great excuse to take a nap your self. Babies will have the security of constant contact just like in the womb and may even sleep more sound.
  • Wear baby in a sling. This is a great way to enjoy your precious little one while your hands are free to go about your own business and maintain a perfect view of baby at all times. Babies can and should be involved in your activities.
  • Take baby to the rocking chair. Some favorite family photos are the one with baby sleeping in a rocker over Pop-pop’s shoulder.
  • Play airplane. Lie on your back and hold your baby by the torso and lift baby like a push-up. Babies develop head control a little quicker in this horizontal, face down position. They also get a different perspective and you get to strengthen your pecs.
  • Sing, talk, and shake rattles. Babies quickly learn to follow familiar and new noises. Do this often and you can almost “see" your baby develop better eye and then head control almost daily. How proud you’ll be when your young baby turns upon hearing your voice.
  • Babies like other sensory, too. Rub a soft blanket on their skin, massage in lotion, or comb baby’s hair. The effect of any massage is very relaxing.
  • Give baby the first taste of solid food after 6 months. An excuse given for introducing bottle-feeding is that dads want to feed the baby too in order to bond. This “delayed gratification" for dad to feed baby will have tremendous health and psychosocial benefits to baby, as the AAP and WHO recommend 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Getting to know your baby by trying the above listed activities and subsequent ones you think of, will help baby get to know you and give mom short healthy breaks to care for herself.

    I am not including "diaper duty" because although not the worse thing in the world, it is unfortunately perceived as a chore and would not be fair to expect dad to do this all the time. Dads deserve to relax, bond, and have fun, too with baby.
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