Hi Mummas!!!

Connecting and bonding with your newborn is a topic that often revolves around mothers, but it's equally important for fathers to establish that special connection. Father-baby bonding plays a vital role in a child's development, yielding long-lasting benefits for both father and child. Strong bonds between fathers and babies contribute to emotional and cognitive growth, enhance social skills, and promote overall well-being.

As a new dad, it's normal to feel a bit overwhelmed and uncertain about where to begin. Rest assured, there are numerous simple and effective ways to connect with your baby and cultivate a strong relationship. To assist you, we've compiled a list of our top five recommendations for fathers seeking to bond with their newborns. These suggestions provide a solid foundation for building a nurturing and meaningful bond with your little one.

new dads to bond with their newborns is through skin-to-skin contact... great way for babies to regulate their body temperatures, steady their heartrate and breathing and help with sleep

1. Skin-to-Skin Contact: Enhancing Newborn Fatherhood Bonding 

This one is one of my favs and it can start right from day 1! One of the simplest and most effective ways for new dads to bond with their newborns is through skin-to-skin contact. Dad can hold their little one either naked or with a nappy on against their bare chest. Its a great way for babies to regulate their body temperatures (since this skill is not yet fully developed in newborns), steady their heartrate and breathing and help with sleep. Studies show that babies who regularly receive skin-to-skin contact have stronger immune systems and weight gain. For dads, skin-to-skin contact can release oxytocin, which is often called the "love hormone." This hormone can help reduce stress and anxiety, and promote feelings of bonding and connection with your baby.

If you're new to skin-to-skin contact, it's important to know that it can be done immediately after birth and throughout your baby's first few months or even years of life. Here are some tips for dads on how to do skin-to-skin contact with their newborns:

  1. Find a comfortable position - Sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your baby against your bare chest.

  2. Be patient - Your baby may take some time to get used to the new sensation of skin-to-skin contact, so be patient and give them time to adjust.

  3. Stay warm - Cover yourself and your baby with a blanket or a warm towel to help regulate their body temperature.

  4. Relax - Take deep breaths and relax your body to help release oxytocin and promote bonding with your baby.

Skin-to-skin contact is a simple and effective way to bond with your newborn, and it's something that both dads and moms can do. Give it a try and see how it can help strengthen your relationship with your baby.

Reading and singing: Bonding, brain development, and joy for dads and newborns. Choose board books, nursery rhymes, lullabies, and interactive books

2. Reading and Singing: Bonding and Lasting Connections for Fathers

Reading and singing to your newborn is another great way to bond with them. I found this easy to do even before birth. Not only does it provide a soothing and comforting experience for your baby, but it can also help stimulate their brain development and promote early literacy skills. In addition, it can be a fun and enjoyable activity for dads to do with their babies.

When it comes to selecting books and songs to read and sing to your newborn, it's important to keep in mind their age and developmental stage. Here are some suggestions for books and songs that dads can use to bond with their babies:

  1. Board books - Board books are perfect for newborns as they have thick pages that are easy to turn and can withstand little hands. Look for books with simple, bright illustrations and rhyming text.

  2. Nursery rhymes - Singing nursery rhymes to your baby can help soothe and calm them, while also promoting language development. Some popular nursery rhymes include "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

  3. Lullabies - Singing lullabies to your baby can be a great way to help them fall asleep and promote a sense of security and comfort. Some popular lullabies include "Hush, Little Baby" and "Rock-a-bye Baby."

  4. Interactive books - Interactive books, such as lift-the-flap or touch-and-feel books, can be a fun and engaging way to read with your baby and promote sensory exploration.

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the time spent reading and singing with your baby. Don't worry about getting all the words or notes right – your little one will love hearing your voice and feeling your presence.

3. Active Newborn Bonding Through Nappy Change

While nappy duty may not be the most glamorous task, it can actually be a great way for dads to bond with their babies, and also a great opportunity to be hands on and help mum! Not only does it provide an opportunity for dads to spend one-on-one time with their little ones, but it also shows their willingness to help out and be an active caregiver.

Here are some tips for dads on how to handle nappy changes:

  1. Be prepared - Have all the necessary supplies within reach, including nappy, wipes, nappy cream, and a change of clothes.

  2. Talk to your baby - Engage your baby in conversation or sing to them while you change their nappy. This can help create a sense of connection and comfort for your little one.

  3. Be gentle - Handle your baby with care and be gentle during nappy changes. Use warm water or wipes to clean them (Our baby wash cloths are perfect for reusable wipes), and be sure to pat them dry afterwards.

  4. Take your time - Don't rush through nappy changes. Take your time and enjoy the opportunity to bond with your baby.

  5. Involve your baby - As your baby gets older, involve them in the nappy-changing process. Ask them to hold the wipes or hand you a clean nappy. This can help promote their independence and sense of responsibility.

Taking on nappy duty may seem like a small task, but it can have a big impact on dads relationship with your baby. It shows your willingness to be an active caregiver and provides an opportunity for dad to spend quality time with your little one. So, embrace nappy duty and enjoy the bonding experience with your baby.

Babywearing: Bonding, comfort, hands-free, and convenience for dads and babies.

4. Babywearing: A Powerful Tool for Father-Baby Bonding

Babywearing is a great way for dads to bond with their babies while also keeping them close and comfortable. Here are some benefits of babywearing for both baby and dad:

  1. Bonding - Babywearing provides an opportunity for dads to have close physical contact with their babies, which can help promote bonding and attachment.

  2. Comfort - Being close to their dad can provide a sense of comfort and security for babies, especially in their first few months of life. If dad was an active person during pregnancy baby will know the sound of their voice and find comfort just as they do with mum.

  3. Hands-free - Babywearing allows dads to keep their hands free while still holding and comforting their babies. Which means there is plenty of time to help with things like the washing or cooking dinner for mum!

  4. Convenience - Carrying a baby in a carrier can be more convenient than pushing a pram, especially in crowded or narrow spaces.

Two little newborns wrapped in Snuggly Jacks swaddle wraps, sand gingham and summer storm prints available in Canada
Cotton Jersey Stretch Wrap 

When it comes to selecting a baby carrier, there are many different options to choose from, including wraps, slings, and structured carriers. Here are some suggestions for different types of carriers and how to use them:

  1. Wraps - Wraps are long pieces of fabric that can be wrapped around both the baby and the dad's body. They are versatile and can be used from infancy through toddlerhood. It may take some practice to get the wrapping technique down, but there are many instructional videos and classes available to help.

  2. Slings - Slings are a one-shouldered carrier that can be used for infants and older babies. They are easy to use and can be adjusted quickly. However, it's important to ensure that the baby is positioned correctly and their airways are clear (This should be a high priority no matter how you babywear)

  3. Structured Carriers - Structured carriers have a padded waistband and shoulder straps for added comfort and support. They can be used for infants through toddlerhood and are easy to adjust. However, they can be bulkier than other types of carriers and may not be as convenient for travel.

Dad Playtime: Development, bonding, communication. Try peek-a-boo, singing, and interactive tummy time games for joyful moments with your baby..

5. Playtime: Fostering Newborn Bonding

Playtime is an important part of a newborn's development and can be a great way for dads to bond with their babies. This one is usually really suited to dads as they love to play games and be the 'fun dad'. Here are some reasons why playtime is important:

  1. Development - Playtime helps babies develop their motor skills, cognitive abilities, and social skills. Through play, babies learn about their environment and how to interact with others.

  2. Bonding - Playing with your baby can be a fun and engaging way to bond and build a relationship with them.

  3. Communication - Playtime can also be a way for babies to communicate with their dads through eye contact, facial expressions, and sounds.

Here are some suggestions for simple games and activities that dads can do with their babies:

  1. Peek-a-boo - This classic game can be a fun way to engage with your baby and promote social interaction. Its also a great way to get the very first giggle from your little one.

  2. Singing - Singing to your baby can be a soothing and calming activity, and can also help promote language development.

  3. Tummy time - Tummy time is an important way to help babies develop their neck and core muscles. Use our Tummy Time Playmats for babies to lay on.  Dads can make tummy time fun by placing toys within reach or playing games like "airplane" or "bicycle".

    Baby laying on a Snuggly Jacks Playmat on the floor of a baby nursery
    Snuggly Jacks Willow Tummy Time Playmat

  4. Sensory play - Sensory play can help babies develop their senses and explore their environment. Dads can create a sensory bin filled with different textures and objects for their baby to explore.

  5. Baby massage - Massaging your baby can be a relaxing and soothing way to bond with them. Use gentle strokes and sing or talk to your baby while you massage them.

Remember, playtime doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Simple games and activities can be just as effective in promoting development and bonding with your baby. So, have fun and enjoy the time you spend with your little one.

Overall bonding with your newborn can be the most amazing experience for all 3 of you. You can never get this time again, take it and truly enjoy all these amazing firsts that your little one is about to share with you. Everything else can wait. 

Katie xx