Picture it ” your newborn baby intermittently screaming, whilst clutching at your partner’s swollen and tender breast, but nothing seems to settle him. Your exhausted, sleep deprived partner remarks at just how tired she feels and is in need of a break. Sitting up against the headboard trying to study work papers for tomorrow's conference, you realise it isn't tomorrow, it is today! Arghhh.
At times men can feel in the dark about tending to their babies' incessant needs and alleviating any stress that their partners may have. How can we bond with our babies and not feel so ‘good for nothing'? How can we create a win-win situation with our partners?
Baby Bonding Tip #1 – Attitude
Adopt a natural curiosity to learn and grow with your baby. A child is born. Nothing will ever be the same, including the routine you had before the birth. A positive and versatile attitude is essential to adapting to this new wondrous life bestowed upon you. It is a miraculous new beginning full of constant challenges.
Baby Bonding Tip #2 – Be A Fascinated Observer – Just Like Your Newborn Baby
Don't be baffled or shy. Soak it all up! What the heck, develop a rejuvenated obsession with your partner's breasts and nipples.
Baby Bonding Tip #3 – Look After Mum
It can be pretty tough on mum so be sure to look after her. We need to recognise and support the mother”child attachment but importantly just BE YOURSELF.
Baby Bonding Tip #4 – Our Spiritual Decrees Demand ” ‘Be Hands On'!
We should assume most of the household chores. And whilst at it, let's get a grip on the nappy! Nappy changers are intimacy builders. Don't yell ‘Ew smelly!' Slow down and give yourself and baby a few moments to ‘chat’ and then calmly resume changing your baby's nappy. Partake ” share your experiences and create quality time.
If your baby is breastfed and you’re not co-sleeping, bring baby to mum in the night for feeds then put him back to sleep. Tip: co-sleeping babies feel more secure so they tend to cry less and sleep more – hence so will you! Have a look at BellyBelly’s article, Co-Sleeping – Is It Safe To Sleep With My Baby?. If your baby has a bottle then do some of the midnight shift.
Playing games is also an important part of bonding with your baby. Babies love playing peek-a-boo. Dads can be great at inducing wonder and stimulation in their baby. Relish the moments, like serenading your baby to soothing music as you feel the warmth of your baby melting into your chest.
Baby Bonding Tip #5 – Get Involved!
Do post-natal courses as a family including a baby massage course, which can really help bonding between you and your baby. There are a myriad of benefits of baby massage including improved sleep patterns and reducing stress in the baby and the parents.
Baby Bonding Tip #6 – Journal It!
Uncover the mystery surrounding men's role in early fatherhood. Start a daily baby journal with your partner. Sure, the experiences won't be the same for her as they are for you, but its a great way to keep a memory of your experiences which can be fascinating to read later, as baby gets older and you forget all the things you wanted to remember. Compare journals with your partner, talk about any difficulties as they arise, and forge something special beyond the rigours of day-to-day parenting.
Embrace these times because they don't come around so often, but they are often the most cherished.