The mother/child bond is commonly known as one of the strongest bonds of any relationship. It isn’t difficult to understand why. Women are naturally nurturing. Even adoptive mothers generally have little problem bonding with their children. Where does this leave fathers, however?
Many times fathers take a role of secondary caregiver. They may not want this role, but they may feel that this is what is expected of them. That is easy to understand. A pregnant woman carries her baby for nine months, and she is wholly consumed by the child’s existence and imminent birth. She is the one who goes through labor and delivery, and everyone’s focus will naturally be on her, and, once the baby is born, on the newborn. A father can feel left out in the cold.
New fathers typically feel insecure and uncertain about how to take care of a newborn. While the mother may also be a new parent, everyone, including the father, may assume that she instinctively knows how to care for her baby. If the mother does feel competent, she may feel hesitant to encourage the father to take a more active role.
If she feels just as insecure, however, she may end up feeling overwhelmed if the father doesn’t step in and help. If the mother breastfeeds her baby, the father may feel that there is no way that he can establish as strong a bond with his baby as the mother’s bond is.
However, a father can form a strong bond with his baby, beginning immediately after the newborn’s birth. Not only can it be done, but it is also extremely important for the infant to forge a deep and lasting relationship with her father. What can you do to strengthen the bond with your child?
Once an infant is born, he is placed immediately into the mother’s arms for a few moments before being whisked away by the nurses. The reason behind this is simple. This is the beginning of the bonding process. It is equally important that the father be allowed to hold his newborn for a few minutes before the infant is checked out by the nurses.
You can continue to strengthen the bond with your baby while she and your wife are still in the hospital. If your hospital allows it, plan on spending the night with your wife, if at all possible. Even if your baby doesn’t stay in the hospital room with you and your wife, the nurses will bring her to you often, during the day and night. Your wife may not feel too great, so you can begin changing your baby’s diapers. If you aren’t sure what to do, feel free to ask a nurse for help.
Once you and your family are able to return home, you should still take an active role in your baby’s care. Even if your wife is breastfeeding, you can still hold your baby, diaper her, and bathe her. You can also bring the baby to your wife as she rests in bed. Try to find as many ways as possible to interact with your newborn.
As your child continues to grow, she will be awake for longer periods, providing you with more opportunities to bond with her. As she becomes more aware of others, she will enjoy gazing into your eyes, while you smile and talk to her. Help her to develop her vocal skills by cooing. Take the time to rock her and to sing to her.
Even though she doesn’t understand what you are saying, you can still read to her. Once your child is old enough to begin reaching for objects, you can start playing games with her. It will be easy for you to make her laugh, and playing with her is a wonderful opportunity to make your relationship even closer.
As he continues to grow, you still need to take as active a role as possible. Although your job may interfere, try to spend a few minutes with your baby before you leave in the morning and in the evening when you get home. Get on the floor and play with him. Once he is eating solid food, do your share of feeding him. Take him on walks, and give him baths.
Your relationship with your child will be what you make of it. The time you spend taking care of your baby will continue to strengthen your bond. As your child grows, he will look to you for so many things, and you will be glad you took the time to bond with him.Your relationship