When it comes to bonding with your baby, it’s arguably true that mothers have the head start! Between delivery, encouraged skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding, it’s common for dads to feel sidelined or out-of-the-loop at times.
While the bond between mother and child is often discussed throughout their early development, it’s so important for fathers to spend quality time bonding with their baby during this time too.
What are the benefits of dads bonding with their babies?
- Dads experience higher confidence levels and less stress when they are able to dedicate quality time to their new baby
- A strong father/child bond has been shown to help reduce risks of depression later in life
- A correlation recognised between a healthy father/child relationship and children who are more academically successful and less likely to participate in crime.
What are some ways dads can bond with their babies?
- Wear a baby carrier to keep baby close to you while working around the house
- Take paternity leave, if possible
- Skin-to-skin contact
- Talk to your baby as often as you can!
- Be silly, these exchanges will continue to become more interactive as baby grows older
- Nappies might not be the most enjoyable task, but it’s a time you can spend with baby regularly during the day
- Participate/facilitate bath time together
- Incorporate music, your own little ritual, a bedtime song or story for example
- Once baby is older, add physical play/light sports
Written by Keryn Thompson RM & IBCLC (L-301766)
Bedford, V. and Johnson, N., 1988. The role of the father. Midwifery, 4(4), pp.190-195.
Nelas, P., Gandara, D., Chaves, C., Coutinho, E., Cruz, C. and Ferreira, M., 2016. Father/baby Bonding: Impact of Vulnerability to Stress.
SUNDERLAND, J., 2000. Baby Entertainer, Bumbling Assistant and Line Manager: Discourses of Fatherhood in Parentcraft Texts. Discourse & Society, 11(2), pp.249-274.
Taubenheim, A., 2006. Paternal-Infant Bonding in the First-Time Father. JOGN Nursing, 10(4), pp.261-264.