Whether you can’t wait to become a dad or are feeling a little nervous about stepping into the world of parenthood, it’s normal for it to take time for you to adjust to your new role!
Try not to worry about whether you’ll be able to bond with your tiny newborn tot. The truth is, dads play a huge part in a child’s development, and as well as supporting their partner during pregnancy, there’re many ways for a dad to form a strong bond with their newborn once they arrive.
Our top tips for dad and baby bonding
- Skin to skin contact: In those first few moments, skin to skin contact with your child is a wonderful experience. So don’t be shy to get your shirt off in the delivery room to cuddle your newborn. It’s never too early to build that special bond, and you can continue to enjoy skin to skin cuddles with your little one as they grow.
- Share the load: Taking charge of half of baby’s feeds means more time with your baby for you, and some much needed rest for your partner! If partner is exclusively breastfeeding, you can pitch in by making sure they’re comfortable, ensuring that they have everything they need close by, and burping your baby after their feed.
- Give a baby massage: Regular baby massages are a great way for you to bond with your little one and help them to feel calm and relaxed before bedtime. To get started, lay your little one on a flat surface and gently rub your palms together with baby oil to warm them. Sing and talk to your baby to get them giggling and massage lightly. Watch how your baby responds and if they seem uncomfortable, simply try using a lighter touch.
- Play kangaroo: Instead of pushing your little one around in a pram or buggy when you head out and about, try using a sling or carrier to keep them close. Whether you’re going for a walk, running errands, or loading the dishwasher, you’ll find it much easier to move around!
- Silly faces: Keep your baby entertained by pulling your best silly faces. You never know, one of your cheesy grins or goofy dance moves could trigger your little one’s first smile!
- Nappy duty: As well as being a rite of passage for any new parent, changing nappies also provides a great opportunity to laugh, chat and bond with your baby.
- Story time: Babies begin to hear familiar voices when they’re still in the womb, so it’s never too early to start reading to your little one! Hearing your voice stimulates an interest in sounds and helps your baby develop important listening skills. At the early newborn stage, your baby doesn’t care what you read to them – it’s simply the soothing sound of your voice that they’ll love. So, cuddle up and read aloud.
- Build connections: Whether you attend classes and local baby groups with your partner, or attend dad-only gatherings, it’s a good idea to reach out to and build connections with other parents who’re going through the same things as you.