Building a healthy father-child bond from the very first month of your baby can make an enormous difference in her life. Studies have found that when fathers are affectionate and helpful, chances are, their children get along better with their siblings. A solid father-child bond also makes children grow up into secure adults. Here are some ways in which you can bond with your baby and make a difference in her life.
Get involved in your baby’s bringing-up chores
In the first month, the primary care-taker of the child is the mother, however, you can do your bit too. Sooth your newborn child when she cries, change her diaper and share the feeding duties with your spouse. Take her for a stroll when the doctor allows, or simply hold her during the difficult nights when she is not ready to sleep.
“Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”
Dr David Popenoe
Show Abundant Affection
A child understands if she is loved or not. Children are sensitive and intuitive beings who can’t be fooled. They somehow understand the body language and vibes that a person gives out. So if you show love to your child, you have already set the stage for a warm, caring father-child bond.
Make eye contact when you are with your child
Research shows that there is a part of the brain that recognizes faces. Children continuously scan their environment and understand who is close and who is not. A child, right from the first couple of weeks, searches for his mom’s or dad’s face. Hence, having eye contact is very important. As a parent, you should keep looking at your child and smile at her while conversing. If you look at your baby and smile, she will surely smile back.
Having skin-to-skin cuddle time with your child is essential. Human touch is soothing for a baby, so hold her often and stroke her gently while playing or doing any other activity like changing diapers.
Have Joyful Conversations
Talk and sing to your baby regularly. You can copy her and make cooing sounds along with her. Spread this activity for a few minutes throughout the day. The best time to strengthen the father-child bond with silly conversation is when you are feeding her.
Mirroring your child’s movements can be a great way to initiate a conversation at her comfort level. Try echoing her coos and other vocalisations. These are the first steps to communicate with her.
Set aside a special play time every day for your little child. Make this a part of your and the child’s daily routine, so that she expects her daddy time regularly. Your style of play does not matter as long as you both have fun together.
Soothe Her Tears
In times of pain take a try at soothing her tears. Try singing a lullaby, walking her around, gently rocking while you make those funny sounds and faces to calm her down. This way, she will learn that the mother is not the only one who can take care of her needs.
Some dads manage to create a healthy loving bond with their baby within the first few days of birth, but some may take a little longer which is perfectly normal. Take it easy on yourself, and keep loving your little one–remember that the bond will develop eventually and when it does, it will last a lifetime.