When you’re the primary caretaker of a newborn, feeding, changing diapers, and putting the baby to sleep takes over your life. But it can be hard for the other parent to bond with your little bundle of joy.
There came a point after my first son was born when my husband and I realized we had a problem; our baby preferred me and my husband was unsure how to help. I was a stay-at-home mom at the time and my husband had a long commute, which made finding time for him to bond with our baby a little challenging.
The first day he tried to take over caring for him ended in disaster. The second my son was out of my arms and into my husband’s, he started screaming at the top of his itty bitty lungs with what sounded like fear and anger. It was then we decided that we needed to find ways for my baby and my husband to bond.
Bonding time didn’t just enhance their physical and emotional relationship, but it also allowed my husband to feel more confident in his role as a father and made it easier for me to leave home without worrying. Here’s how we started finding ways for them to bond.
1. Wearing baby at least once a day
For dads, the sweet, quiet moments after baby is fed can be the perfect time to step in and start forming that connection with your child. And baby-wearing can be a soothing time for baby while you’re still able to accomplish day-to-day tasks hands-free. It also can allow for skin-to-skin content and includes many health benefits like regulating heartbeat to improve temperature and breathing patterns.
2. Taking over diaper duty
It can be easy for the baby to become fully dependent on the parent primarily feeding or caring for the baby. By having the other parent take over diapering as much as possible, not only are they helping out their (likely exhausted) partner, but they’re also teaching baby they are very much involved in taking care of their needs.
When our second child was born, my husband took over diaper-duty whenever he was home. He loved how it felt to care for his child and family through such a simple gesture. And I appreciated every dirty diaper I didn’t have to deal with.
3. Creating their own routine
From bathtime to bedtime, find and create a routine with your little one where you have a special moment to be with one another. What my husband loved about this time was that it didn’t always have to be an hour, it could simply be a five-minute story or snuggle in the morning before he went to work.
It’s also important to remember that just because they are bonding in different ways it doesn’t make it less important. Here are some simple ways to incorporate special moments into your daily routine.
- Singing songs before bed
- Taking over midnight feedings
- Going for a daily walk in the stroller or carrier
- Giving the baby a massage before bed