When it comes to bonding with their babies, moms have it easy. After carrying a child in your womb for 9 months, and then being the sole source of nutrition (if you’re a breastfeeding mama), we get a lot of chances to get to know our little ones. It’s not as simple for dads. Back in the day, fathers weren’t even permitted to be in the room when their children were born! We’ve come a ways from that, but there are still some antiquated beliefs about what it means to be a dad that can make bonding slow going.
I’m grateful that Terrence is extremely involved with both of our children. He has his own relationship with them outside of me because he takes time to build bonds. Here are some of the sweet ways that he connects with our newest baby.
1. Give the baby baths.
Terrence takes the lead on a lot of baby care things, but giving Jamie baths is truly his sweet spot. Because giving a baby a bath requires patience and a light touch, putting dad in charge of this task can be a nice way to get him to slow down. Babies are so calm during the process that I feel like baths are the closest thing to the feeling of breastfeeding that dads get.
2. Wear the baby in a carrier when they go out.
Leave the stroller at home and let dad carry the baby when they go out. Babies crave closeness, and there’s no better way to get that contact than in a baby carrier. Terrence has always kept a BabyBjörn Baby Carrier in his diaper bag. He was was sent the Baby Carrier One Air to try out, and loves that it didn’t need an infant insert. His favorite feature is the breathable airy mesh fabric that’s perfect for walks in the California sun. I have to mention that carrying baby is also good for daddy’s ego. Everyone loves a babywearing man!
3. Take the baby to work.
We see moms bringing their babies to work so their colleagues can meet them, but rarely do dads go by themselves. I had to go out of town for the day recently and Terrence had Jamie. He cared for him all day while balancing his work. Being able to spend time with Jamie during the day was different for Terrence, and it gave him a better sense of Jamie’s personalities and needs. It definitely brought them closer.
4. Read with the baby.
Sometimes parents (not just dads) don’t know what to say to their baby. Reading to them is an easy way for dad to engage with the baby when he’s not sure of what to say. This is especially useful when the baby is really young, and Daddy and Baby are just learning each other. Dad reading with baby can quickly turn into a sweet routine.
5. Take naps together.
Is there anything sweeter than seeing a tiny baby sleeping on his daddy’s big chest? The first time I saw Terrence and Jamie napping together, I was a puddle on the floor. Those quiet, downtime moments are just as important as the big ones for building a bond and helping baby feel safe.