THE NOVICE DAD'S ULTIMATE GUIDE
Congratulations! You're finally a proud first-time dad! You're supposed to be ecstatic about this great occasion however, you find yourself on an emotional roller coaster. Okay, so you can handle lifting really heavy weights, fixing the dish-washing machine, skydiving, hitting a home run and all that macho stuff that guys do BUT bonding with a baby – that's a whole new ball game. You're wondering – can I swing this? If this is your nightmare, no worries – we've got you! This ultimate guide is a collection of the best baby-bonding advice or tips. We'll get you started off baby bonding on the right foot in no time!
When it comes to bonding, you want to make the most of every aspect of your baby's routine (talking, bathing, feeding, playing, etc.) to form that deep connection you desire so much to have with your wee one.
Ready? Let's dive right in!
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Carly the Mommy says, "When that happens throughout the pregnancy, it's amazing to see how a newborn will turn toward dad's voice after delivery."
She also recommends talking to the mother while rubbing her bump, so you and she can bond too while bonding with baby.
After birth, it's also important to continue talking to the baby during every aspect of the baby's routine. Talking to your baby makes him or her identify and accept the fact that you are a parent too and that apart from mummy you’re also one of the threads in the entire tapestry of his or her life – you’re a part of the picture and will always be there.
There's no hard and fast rule about striking up a conversation with a baby and you certainly do not need to rehearse - you're NOT prepping up for a first date! Just make sure on a regular basis you're talking to your newborn. However, talking to your baby about how you and mummy became sweethearts or how you caught a really big pike when you went fishing with the guys, make great talking points!
Silence is golden but NO it's not when it comes to babies – talking is golden!
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Bathing is a great baby-bonding activity because it's a time to pamper your baby.
When it comes to bathing your baby, you have so many options. You can walk into a shower with them (make sure it's a warm one) or put them on your laps while sitting together in a tub. You can also decide to bath them in a baby tub (be sure to get those ones that come with slings) or in the kitchen sink - Carly the Mommy, Mommy On Purpose.
Make it a very private moment for you and your baby – a ‘just you and me’ time; there should be no interruptions from anything or anyone. So be sure to switch off all phones and other devices.
Pro-Tips for a good baby massage
Bath time is a great time to try a baby massage. Get some baby oil – jojoba or calendula are favs. Start by rubbing their feet and legs and then work your way up to their arms, chest and back. This works like magic and lulls baby to sleep which is good if you’re prepping him or her for bedtime.
"… talk to her in a calm, soothing voice and make it a super sweet bonding time for you both." Carly the Mommy, Mommy On Purpose
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Babies love their food and perhaps even more, the one who feeds them, so make the most of feeding time to bond with your baby.
Take turns with the mother to feed your baby. Insist on your partner giving you a chance to bottle-feed the baby too – Motherly.
The best time to do this is when your partner is exhausted and wants to get some sleep; but make sure you have enough food in the fridge for those late nights - Kaelin Zawlinski, Parents.
When a father bottle-feeds the baby, Motherly says, "This will help the baby understand that although her mama may be the main source of food, she can also receive nourishment from her dad, too. Dad should cradle her nice and close during the feeding."
Connect more with your baby by getting more in the feeding routine; carry the baby over to the mother to be breastfed, burp him or her after he or she is full and cuddle and rock him to sleep – Motherly.
Pro-Tip on feeding baby
For an even deeper connection, Kaelin Zawilinski, Parents suggests, "When mom is breastfeeding baby she cuddles him close to her chest and baby has a perfect view into her eyes. When you are bottle-feeding him, hold him in the same position, allowing your little one to gaze up at you."
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Again with reading, there's no hard and fast rule especially about when to start reading to your baby; as a matter of fact, the earlier the better.
There's a correlation between talking and reading as far as babies are concerned and so babies who start reading in their earlier years tend to have a good command over language. And so the more you read to them the more words they'll learn and the better they will get at their speech abilities.
Two important rules to note when reading to your baby is to read out loud and to hold them in the process.
It's important they feel your touch and hear your voice – they will use these to form cues about what you are reading to them even though they may not fully understand what you're reading - Carly the Mommy, Mommy On Purpose.
Carly the Mommy also says, "Reading aloud is one of the most awesome and longest-lasting ways for dad to bond with his baby because it starts a tradition that can last all the way through their childhood years. This is one they'll never outgrow!"
Pro-Tip on baby books
"Books like Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, and Guess How Much I Love You are awesome baby books that have a sweet message, too… As they get older you can move up to Dr Seuss classics, adventures such as The Indian in the Cupboard, and eventually The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe." Carly the Mommy, Mommy On Purpose
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Everybody loves some fun and so do babies. Playtime gives you a chance to bond over fun which creates unforgettable memories for babies and helps to form a deeper connection with them.
The kind of games to play with your baby is a matter of preference. Peek-a-boos, singing lullabies or cradle songs and making funny faces top the list though you can also take a crack at splish splash, rock and roll or shake, rattle and roll. However, timing and frequency are key; it's important to have a particular time of the day you can play with your baby and to stick to it religiously. This way your baby will get used to this special bonding time as he or she grows.
Pro-Tip for playtime
Playtime can get active so exercise some care when playing with your newborn. Take pains to learn safe and age-appropriate ways to hold babies at every phase of their growth. But by all means, do have fun – your baby is much stronger than a porcelain doll so don’t let any fear of hurting him or her stop you from enjoying yourselves.
There you go, daddy - our first set of baby-bonding advice. Bet you're itching to give them a try. In the second part of this post, we'll wrap up with the last set. In the meantime, happy baby-bonding!
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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