Expert Speak: 7 ways new fathers can quickly bond with their babies
Fathers have to make special efforts to do something that comes naturally to mothers. Our expert, Dr Helai Gupta, lists ways in which new fathers can bond with their brand new babies
It is a known fact that mothers share a more natural bond with their children ad it's one that doesn’t need to be cultivated. After all, they carry the baby for nine months, feed her and nurture her every moment since conception.
However, we often underplay the role of the father in parenting a child. Fathers are as eager as the mothers to establish an emotional bond with their newborn babies. The only difference being, they have to make special efforts to do something that comes naturally to mothers.
"This practice of bond-building should ideally start even before the baby is born. The gender stereotypes pervading in our society often obstruct men from embracing paternity in a more emotional way since mothers are expected to take care of the baby and perform all their chores. However, the more you engage with your child and her activities, the more you will bond with her. So, go all out, clean her nappies, change her diapers, feed her milk, put her to sleep and try to spend as much time with her as possible," advises Dr Helai Gupta, senior consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paras Bliss Hospital, New Delhi, in an exclusive interview with theIndusparent.
If you are an expecting father who is waiting for his little bundle of joy to arrive any time soon, here are some tips for you that would help you cultivate and develop a strong bond with your child in her early days in the world:
#1 Engage yourself with the pregnancy
The process of bonding starts even before the birth, not only for mothers but also for fathers.
"Actively engaging with the processes of pregnancy can help fathers establish a close association with the development of the child. Always visit the doctor with your wife, listen to her instructions and help your wife follow them on a daily basis, keep a tab of what she is eating and how she is keeping everyday, and yes religiously visit the sonography sessions," says Dr Gupta.
Associating closely with the process of the baby’s development inside the womb helps fathers establish a close bond with their babies even before they are born.
#2 Hold the baby as much as possible
Once your little bundle of joy is out in your arms, don’t let her go. "It is not just the mother’s job to put the baby to sleep, rock her, or cuddle and carry her if she is feeling colicky. Take initiative in doing all these things," says Dr Gupta.
Touch is an essential mechanism to establish an early bond with your child; the more you touch, cuddle and carry the baby, the closer to her you will grow and vice versa.
#3 Holding the baby after every feed for the burp
This especially helps the father to bond with the baby and also help the mother relax. The baby sometimes might take up to 10-15 minutes to burp and it may be a difficult and exhausting experience for the mother, who just finished feeding. "But if the father gets involved and holds the baby for burp, the mother can get some rest and the baby can also get a change in position, which at the end would relax them," says Dr Gupta.
Continue reading to know more ways in which new fathers can bond with their babies.
#4 Feed the baby once a day
Even as your wife breastfeeds the baby regularly, take out time to feed her a bottle in your arms. There is no better feeling for a parent than feeding the baby and watching her satisfied and satiated. It will also help bring you closer to the baby.
#5 Give her a bath
Bathing is one of the most significant early activities that babies enjoy. "Make sure you find time once in a while to administer a bath to your baby all by yourself, from shampooing to washing to dressing her up. This will help you understand her better," says Dr Gupta.
#6 Talk to her
Babies recognise voices, even before they are born. Start talking to your wife’s belly in the later months of the pregnancy. Once the baby is out, set aside a daily routine for a brief talk session with her, preferably when she is in a good mood.
Look into her eyes and talk your heart out. Some people have a natural knack of striking a conversation with babies, others need time to develop it. Whatever is the case with you, make sure you talk to the baby every day for a good time, and she will start responding to your voice.
#7 Do her chores
The more you involve yourself in the process of child rearing, the more bonded you will feel with your baby and vice versa. Some fathers are apprehensive about doing something wrong in doing their baby’s chores; there is no need to be, even mothers learn things gradually.
Know that changing diapers, cleaning the baby vomit, washing her clothes, cleaning her feeding bottle, among other things are not just the mother’s job. The more you indulge in your baby’s daily life, the closer and faster you will bond with her.
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