How Dads Can Bond with Their Babies | Momspiration Blog | by Peoria's Birth Photographer Brittney Hogue

You did it.

You made the human, you birthed the human, you’ve survived the first days. And now you’re just trying to settle into your new family dynamic. How do you do it without leaving dad behind?

  1. Share the skin to skin time.

Dad holds NICU micropreemie during skin to skin kangaroo time.

The number one easiest way to bond with your baby is simple: snuggle. Skin to skin contact has an amazing set of benefits including reducing jaundice in newborns, regulating blood sugar levels and body temperature. During skin-to-skin contact, both moms and dads release hormones like oxytocin, prolactin, and endorphins … holding a baby (once you feel confident doing it) FEELS GOOD. It sends signals the brain to release the love hormones and forges a stronger bond with your baby.

2. Share responsibilities.

Dad holds baby for a bonding moment during fresh 48 session in Peoria IL.

When your partner returns to work, it becomes almost habitual to change all the diapers, do all the baths, spend time planning the perfect outfit for your little one to wear to the lactation visit. And you ENJOY doing a lot of these things. When your partner is home… ASK for help and not just with the harder stuff like calming down the crying infant. Share the FUN parts. “Hey, can you pick out some pajamas for the baby?” “I need a photo on the blanket for our 1 month! Can you get one while I take a shower?” Many moms state they ask for help with the every day parts of caring for a baby: diaper changes, burping after breastfeeding, baths, bouncing that over-tired-over-stimulated-crying machine.

3. Share the compliments.

Dad holds baby at Fresh 48 session.

It’s such a simple idea, but to be frank… I am not sure I ever did it with our first baby. “You’re so good with him!” “Too bad, I’m taking your picture. You are even cuter holding baby.” How much does it make your day to hear that old lady in the grocery store say, “You must be a wonderful mother.” Even when you don’t feel that way at all? Even when it’s the furthest thing from the truth in those moments? Pop quiz… how many parent support groups are you in on Facebook? I’m in …

  1. Central Illinois Breastfeeding Moms

  2. Connected Parenting of Peoria

  3. Gentle Parenting

  4. Phil, Steph and All the Rest

  5. Everyday Babywearing

  6. High Needs Support

  7. Galactosemia Discussion Group

  8. Galactosemia Mommies

  9. Galactosemia Association of Midwest America

  10. Where Moms Connect Tremont

That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head… Not to mention my regular circle of friends and family who can all reaffirm I’m doing something right even when my baby is crying and I don’t understand her yet.

How many groups is your partner in? How many of his friends are also dads and they talk about dad stuff and poop consistencies and reflux and car seat transitioning and lipstick shaped nipples. Who besides you does he talk to about circumcision healing, the normalcy of tantrums or night wakenings? Who is telling your partner… you’re a good dad? And how often is he hearing it? Take a photo of him holding your baby and brag to your friends about him. Send those pictures to him, even if at first his only response is, “Yep, that’s a baby.” The first time he makes your picture you sent his profile photo on Facebook, it’ll bring you unreal joy. When he does it for the tenth time, you’ll know he not so secretly loves those photos and your constant encouragement.