You asked

How can dad bond with baby?

Dads feel that they have a very limited role in childcare – especially when the baby is new. Moms can breastfeed and soothe their babies and father are obviously less well-equipped. What your husband needs to realise, is that your child does not need a second mother; your husband will develop his own special kind of care and comfort routines.
  • Get your husband involved with feeding, starting with the midnight shifts. With no-one else awake and very little distraction for your child, these late night feeding sessions allow your husband to learn about comforting and feeding effectively, without pressure. Being alone with your baby will also encourage him to become more personal and expressive.
  • Get your child to really know your husband's face and become used to his presence, by encouraging staring matches between dad and baby. Small children love to study faces, and your husband will appreciate the cuteness and individuality of his child's facial features.
  • Some children are never happy unless someone is holding them. Your husband can use a baby carrier and have your child safely strapped to his chest while doing minor chores around the house.
  • Giving your baby a bath can be quite a nerve-racking experience for a new dad. Sometimes it easier and safer to try bathing with the baby. Having some one physically close in the bath will calm a baby and allow for a fun experience.
  • For the first few months of your child's life, your husband does not need to restrict himself to reading baby books aloud to your child. Even if he reads out loud from the business section of the newspaper, it has a calming effect on your child.
  • If your baby eats solid food, your husband can set the table for your child and monitor eating, assisting your child when needed and making sure there is no danger.
  • Learning to change a nappy and taking on changing duties is a good, helpful way that your husband can bond with your baby. Children appreciate having clean nappies and a special bond is developed in the process.
  • If your child becomes sick with colds or flu, allow your husband to hold and comfort your baby during recovery.
  • Encourage your husband to allow your child to touch and feel his face and arms. Men feel very different to women, and this tactile experience will be relatively new and interesting for your baby.
  • Digital cameras allow for inexpensive taking and sharing of photographs. Encourage your husband to capture all those random moments that can be shared with grandparents and other family members. The photographs will also prove that your husband is having a great time being a dad.
  • Roughhousing is traditionally the dad's area of expertise. Men tend to prefer slightly more extreme physical playing – even with girls. Make sure he is careful though. He has to avoid shaking your child or injuring the neck or back in particular. Your child ought to be strong enough to sit up unaided before any remotely rough play is allowed.

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