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24Jul 13

How new fathers can bond with their babies

Throughout their pregnancy, labour and first months of nursing a baby, mothers receive healthy doses of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for the strong love and tight bond between mother and child.

The father and baby bond

The father and baby bond

Fathers, on the other hand, do not have such a strong physical pull towards their children. Their initial reactions to children are varied. My father-in-law told me that when he saw his daughter’s face for the first time, his whole world changed from black and white to colour, much like the sensation Dorothy experienced when she travelled to the magical world of Oz.

While those feelings are valid and beautiful, not all fathers feel an immediate connection with their newborns. Many husbands are unsure of how to cope with the tiny new person in their lives or how to connect and create the father baby bond. Do not worry! Even if there is no sudden spark, your relationship can still be just as strong as the fathers who fall in love at first sight.

Here are some of my suggestions to help increase that father/child bond:

Make lots of physical contact. When you caress a baby’s skin, you stimulate its senses and create a bond. Hold the child in your arms to help him or her feel safe and protected with you. Look the baby in the eyes. One of the first things they learn is the faces of familiar people around them. Make sure you are one of them! Give him/her a chance to study you and get to know you better. Meanwhile, subconsciously, you will be doing the same.

Talk a lot. Help the child get used to the sound of your voice and recognize it, associating it with a comforting, loving, playful father figure that you are. Not only that, but you are helping your child learn to speak much quicker. You could also imitate the sounds your newborn makes. This will show that you are trying to communicate with him, therefore forging a connection.

Do joint activities outside of the home. Staying indoors all day is not very stimulating for the baby, and since men tend to bond with others by doing activities together, get out of the house! Share a joint experience with your child such as a walk, a trip to the park, a museum, etc.

Spend time alone with the baby. Spend some one-on-one time with your little one to show that you are trustworthy and play a big role in his or her life. By doing so, the child will come to rely on you and have a stronger connection, and you will feel a sense of responsibility and tenderness by having to take care of your child alone and deal with issues such as dirty nappies, crying patches and burping.

Do you have any other tips for newborn fathers?

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