If you’re pregnant and plan to breastfeed you might be considering the topic of dad and baby bonding. If you’re wondering how to help your partner bond with your breastfed baby, then you’ve come to the right post!
Breastfeeding provides numerous physical and emotional benefits for your baby. It is also an excellent way to establish a strong attachment between mama and little one. It’s no wonder this happens, since while you nurse the hormone oxytocin, (also known as “the love hormone”), gets produced in overdrive within your body.
But with all the time baby spends at your breast in the first few weeks, finding time for dad and baby bonding can be a challenge.
Looking for a quick fix AND to help you feel less overwhelmed with the ginormous job of breastfeeding, many dads think the answer is to help with feeding. But dads don’t need to bottle feed their child in order to share closeness and help mom get some down-time.
In fact, in the early weeks, bottle feeding can actually hurt breastfeeding outcomes. It’s best to avoid bottles at the beginning if possible. Bottles and pacifiers can cause nipple confusion. And to replace even a few nursing sessions with bottles can actually create dips in your milk supply.
Thankfully, there are many other activities dad can take part in to help mom AND bond with baby. Feeding is only one of the many ways that parents and babies can bond. In this post I’m sharing 5 ways for dads to bond with their breastfed babies.
Skin to skin
Experts encourage skin to skin contact between mom and baby immediately after birth and beyond. It helps regulate baby’s body temperature, improves lung function, and stabilizes her heart rate.
Dads can also practice skin to skin with baby for all these benefits and to promote bonding with their little ones.
Simply dress baby in a diaper only and lay him on dad’s bare chest. You can also drape a lightweight blanket over baby’s back to keep him warm.
As your baby grows, it’s helpful to establish a bedtime routine. By getting dad involved, you can get some precious alone time and baby will get used to having dad care for her without you participating.
If you like to nurse baby to sleep, have your partner do bath time, a diaper change, and put dress baby in pajamas beforehand.
Encourage dad to add in one special thing to make a part of his and baby’s nightly tradition, like singing a special song or reading a short story. My husband likes to take our son outside to walk around and look up at the moon (when weather allows).
For the dad that wants to bond with baby and also likes to be on the go, baby wearing is a perfect solution. He can bond with his little one while getting errands completed or doing chores around the house.
It sure is nice taking turns wearing your baby with your partner. It will save your back and help your baby feel comfortable whether he’s with mom or dad.
My husband preferred wearing our son in soft structured carriers compared to wraps or ring slings. They tend to be easier to attach and buckle baby in. We like this one.
Story time is a great opportunity for dad and baby to snuggle and share some calming downtime. Reading is one of my favorite ways to promote dad and baby bonding. Not only does it help baby get accustomed to dad’s voice, it also encourages language development as baby grows.
You can never start reading to your baby too early. As you read you might be surprised just how well even a very young baby stays engaged.
I love to use creative voices and accents while I read to my kiddos. They get so into it and enjoy every minute.
Even during the early weeks of life, dads should practice play with their babies. One simple way is to look baby in the eyes and talk to him using different facial expressions and tones of voice.
Infants often have a fascination with hands. Consider singing songs with hand motions, like the itsy bitsy spider, and really exaggerate the movements.
As baby gets older, he will participate more in play and that’s when things really get fun! Your baby will interact with coos, babbling, and giggles as you play peek-a-boo, tickle him, or swing him up into the air.
Strong bonds take time
Dad and baby bonding can happen even during routine tasks. As parents we communicate love and care toward our little one in the simple things. These interactions build a strong foundation for a loving bond that will grow and blossom over time.
Which of these dad and baby bonding ideas do you like best? Tell me in the comments below!