Bonding with your newborn
It’s great if you can get involved in the daily care of your baby from day one.
All these infant care activities can increase your skills and confidence as a new Dad. They also provide lots of opportunities for you build your relationship with your baby:
- nappy changes
- settling to sleep
- feeding (this replaced umbilical care)
Parenting skills take practice, so getting in and having a go is the most important thing. Remember, you don’t have to get things perfect!
- Think about it………….. if the bub’s milk spills or the nappy isn’t on perfect, it’s not a huge issue, rather an experience you can learn from.
As much as we love our children, it’s ok to need some ‘time-out’.
Regularly tag-teaming parenting duties gives you and your partner plenty of opportunities to have time-out and also some special parent and baby one-on-one time together.
Come bedtime, singing a song, reading to your baby, or a relaxing massage can all help to create a soothing nightly sleep ritual and help your bubs regulate emotions through feelings of familiarity and safety.
Babies feel secure when they have regular routines with familiar people. Don’t stress too much if things don’t always go to plan though – in fact, it is very normal to feel overwhelmed at times. As a new dad you may need to do lots of adjusting and adapting to the unexpected. Having flexibility, patience and a sense of humour can help with the tougher times.
If your baby is unsettled at times, you can always chat to healthcare professionals who provide parenting information and advice.
Supports for you and your baby include:
- Your GP
- Your family’s child health nurse
- Phone-based services like Pregnancy Birth and Baby, or the Parent Helpline in your area (there’s a list of numbers at the bottom of this page)
Bonding through affection and attention is powerful – DO NOT underestimate the opportunity for healthy development that is associated with affection, attention and safety.
Copying your baby’s expressions and maintaining strong eye contact is an easy way to strengthen the bond and attachment between you and your baby.
When you respond to your baby’s body language and cues by showing them affection, your baby’s brain releases hormones that have a positive effect on mood, emotions and brain development
Activities that stimulate positive wellbeing hormones.
- blowing raspberries on baby’s belly
- gently jiggling or dancing with your baby
- exploring together – tummy time or a splashy bath
- getting active and going on nature walks using a carrier or pram
- babies and dads getting each other laughing
- skin to skin contact and cuddles (this is particularly powerful)
We hope you enjoy your journey of parenthood and recognise the significance of father involvement, even during pregnancy. Men can often miss the magical opportunity of being involved in pregnancy.
TIP: Embrace the wonderful journey of pregnancy with your partner and build the bond from the earliest opportunity.
There are fantastic resources available if you’d like to explore more ideas for bonding. The following website can be accessed for a variety of additional resources.