It’s no secret that the bond between mother and child is an extremely powerful one, and although this amazing and effortless connection can happen from the very first moment you lay eyes on your little one, it can sometimes be harder for dads to achieve the same feeling of closeness right away.
There are a number of reasons why babies tend to be closer to their mothers at first, mainly because they’re usually the source of food and comfort for the first few months. However, it’s not due to baby playing favourites, as there is actual research to show that the mother is instinctively where babies look for comfort.
Studies have shown that during times of distress, babies are more likely to cling to their mothers, whereas when they’re experiencing high energy times and looking for playfulness, it’s the dad that they aim for. This shows that although there’s a deep bond between a father and their child, it can sometimes be harder to form.
Thankfully, there are some fun and fabulous ways that you can help to strengthen this important connection between baby and dad. These are particularly helpful for those fathers who feel they’re missing out on the love a little, whether it’s because they’re back at work already or because they don’t get the special bonding time shared during night feeds.
Try to Soothe Their Tears
For some families, the natural reaction to a baby’s cry is to have mum immediately spring into action and save the world. If you’re hoping to strengthen the bond between baby and dad, though, why not let dad have a go at soothing the little one? Even if your baby isn’t instantly soothed, remember that letting your baby cry while in the arms of a caring parent isn’t the same as simply letting them cry it out alone. After just a few times, you’ll find that your baby calms down just as quickly for dad as they do for mum, so dad can be there to assist in wiping away any future tears.
Use A Carrier or Sling
No rulebook says baby wearing is just for mums, and if the numerous studies are anything to go by, we know that carrying our babies close is the easiest way to calm them down. By placing your baby in a carrier, wrap, or sling, you’re not only giving mum a break but also allowing your child to get used to your touch and smell. When they’re very little, this can be their favourite place to take a nap, and it allows you to get things done around the house at the same time.
Bath Time Buddies
For the dads who are at work all day, there’s one time that is crucial for forming a bond: bath time. Most dads are usually home just in time for this daily routine, and it can be up to them whether they want to bathe them in a bathtub or bring them into the shower for some skin to skin contact. Whichever the choice, this is one thing that dad and bub can do to form a connection and it gives mum a chance to have some “me time” after a likely stressful day.
Take Over A Night Feed
Not only is this a great idea for bonding between dad and bub, but it’s an ideal time for mum to catch up on some extra sleep. Rather than getting up to do the first feed yourself, use this time to get a longer stretch or sleep while dad feeds a bottle of expressed milk to the baby. Be sure to snuggle them close to replicate the feeling of breastfeeding, and dad will soon become a source of comfort for baby too.
Dance Party with Dad
If there’s one thing that dads excel at, it’s being silly. For one of the most fun-filled and high-energy bonding sessions you can do, why not put some music on and get lost in a daddy dance party. Choose music that allows you to jump around and get crazy, and it won’t be long before baby is losing themselves in hysterics. For those dads still waiting to hear bub’s first laughs, this is a great way to encourage it.
Eventually, as your child grows they will understand that both parents are just as capable of providing fun, comfort, and support, but until then, it’s up to mum and dad to have the equal share of all roles. The best way to do this is find something that fits in with your family, as we are all vastly different, and try to work it in with everyone’s routine.
The Peachymama team has compiled a great range of articles on breastfeeding clothing, breastfeeding itself, and interesting information for new parents. We invite you to read more at https://www.peachymama.com.au/blogs/breastfeeding