After the new baby comes home partners tend to not only feel neglected, but can often feel as though they don’t know how to bond with baby. Other than feeding a bottle to the new baby, there are a lot of ways partners can bond.
Here are a few ideas:
- Hold the baby anytime mom needs a break. Holding your baby skin to skin against your chest can stimulate an oxytocin release, which is a bonding hormone and has many benefits for both you and the baby.
- Sing and talk to the baby. Believe it or not, they heard your voice while they were in the womb as well! Listening to your voice can be very soothing.
- Read stories to your baby. Make a routine to read them a bedtime story every night. It can do wonders for their verbal development as they get older.
- Listen to music and rock, or slow dance with your baby. They probably aren’t ready for the heavy metal hair bands yet, but something soothing. It doesn’t have to be Mozart, just make sure you don’t have it cranked up terribly loud.
- Give baby sponge baths. Make sure the water is warm and talk to them while you do. Make it a calm and enjoyable experience for you both. Be sure to have a towel nearby to wrap up baby as soon as you’ve finished.
- Burp baby after feedings. Even if mom is breastfeeding you can be a part of it.
- Wear your baby in a baby carrier. They love being held and listening to your heartbeat. This frees up your hands too, so you can get things done!
- Change their diaper. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting, but it’s filling one of their basic needs and it equals a lot of quality time.
- Dress the baby. They tend to go through a lot of clothes those first few months. Describe to the baby what you’re doing as you dress them. Make it a fun routine.
- Find a special ritual for just the two of you, whether it’s the bedtime story every night, singing a song to baby every day, wearing them while you take an evening walk — whatever it is, make it something the two of you can always share.
- Get creative. Only you know your family and your routines. Find the areas where you can sneak in special time with the baby. Ask around and get ideas of what other parents have learned to do to bond with their little ones.
Just putting in the effort to bond with them is a big step in establishing your relationship. Don’t feel bad if they seem to prefer mom for a while. They did just spend 9 months getting to know her voice, her smell and the sound of her heartbeat. Before you know it, they grow and change.