It is found that fathers do not share the same bond with their babies in the same way that mothers do. The oxytocin released during pregnancy fosters bonding between the mother and the child which implies that the mother already feels deeply connected to the baby even before they are born. On the other hand, fathers feel overwhelmed and flustered with emotions on the arrival of their newborn. In a study conducted by Oxford University, they concluded that no matter the intention of the father with their newborn, a more traditional relationship was developed where the mother raised the child while the father worked to support the family. There are several ways in which the bond between a newborn and their father can be deepened. Have a look at some of them!
7 ways to bond with your newborn
- Take the night shift: Taking the night shift not only allows the mother to have a well-deserved break but also fosters the bonding process between the father and the baby. When babies fall asleep and wake up with their father, it helps them find comfort and safety within their presence. They feel more at ease around the father knowing that they are there when they sleep and wake up.
- Soothe their tears: Being able to soothe your baby’s tears helps in boosting your parenting confidence. This creates an environment of trust and positive reinforcement within the baby around their fathers. Pacing up and down with the baby, rocking them back and forth and cuddling with them mimics the surroundings and comfort of being in the womb. Thus, it helps to foster a positive bond between the father and their child.
- Make funny faces: Making funny faces and silly noises helps babies develop their visual, social and emotional skills. In addition to creating a bond with your baby, making funny faces helps to teach them and increase their social cues to seek and receive much-needed attention.
- Baby massages: A calming and relaxing massage helps your baby realise and feel loved. Massaging your baby for 10-15 minutes does more than simply help with their digestion, sleep and steady weight gain, it also helps your baby feel restful and at ease around you and creates a good sense of familiarity with the baby.
- Devoted time with the baby: It sometimes becomes difficult for fathers with busy schedules to spend consistent time with their newborns. However, this is essential for the deepening of the baby’s bond with you. Special playtimes, being a consistent part of their bedtime routine and occasionally waking your baby up are all ways for you to dedicate individual time with the baby. It helps them get the reassurance that you love and care for them, which is vital to the healthy growth of a baby.
- Cleaning time: When taking time to clean and do chores around the house, it helps to put them in a carrier and strap them onto you. Keeping them close to you helps to get familiarised with your presence and scent. It is also a proven fact that fathers who indulge in doing household chores raise children with greater aspirations. So, take out some time and become a part of daily household chores.
- Involve yourself in diaper changes, bath and feeding time: Diaper changing may not be the most comfortable or pleasant smelling activity. However, taking part in such an intimate activity strengthens the bond between you and your baby. Similarly, bath and feeding times allows your baby to recognise your presence and makes them feel more secure and happy around you.
Fathers also struggle with the pressure of becoming a father. It is not an easy shift in lifestyle for them and they do not have access to the same facilities that are available to new mothers. However, successfully bonding with your baby allows for the parenting process to be more rewarding and successful as it feels more reassuring for the father as well as for the baby.