The baby/daddy relationship can often be more difficult to navigate. Mommy carried the baby for nine months; she suffered through the morning sickness, felt him kick for the first time and constantly move about later on, she experienced the labor contractions and gave birth to him. Daddy was there all along the way but might not feel the immediate bond that mothers do; the relationship might take more effort and be slower to form. Of course, all parental relationships are important and play a crucial role in baby’s development but Dad might be more nervous that he’s not doing things right or that baby prefers Mommy.
With a little effort and extra reassurance an uneasy Dad can feel more comfortable and enjoy this valuable time with his child. Make sure Daddy has established time with the baby, whether it’s before work in the morning or in the evenings once things have quieted down. Maybe Dad always gets the baby out of the crib each morning and spends time with him as the day begins? In our household we’ve established a routine that after his last feeding Daddy gets him ready for bed and spends a few minutes with our son before saying goodnight. It doesn’t have to be extensive but some daily scheduled time can go a long way.
What about baby/Daddy Saturday afternoon dates while Mom goes to lunch with friends or gets her nails done? Dad might feel more competent if he’s not “competing” with Mommy, while you go out to see friends or run errands perhaps Daddy can take the child to the park, on a walk, hang out on the deck or in the play room. Every Wednesday night, Mom goes to the gym and Daddy does the evening routine? It doesn’t have to be extravagant but one-on-one time can enhance their relationship. Is there a local play group that meets weekly and works with Daddy’s schedule? The public libraries often have story time that is open to the public several times per week. Perhaps Dad can take baby and they can clap, sing, and dance along to favorite nursery rhymes.
Make Dad part of the feeding routine. Can Daddy do a bottle feeding once a day? Twice a week? Feeling needed and that he’s helping out often makes dad feel valued and important. Baby still struggles to sleep through the night? Perhaps Dad can warm the bottle or get baby from his crib and bring him to Mom if she’s breastfeeding? Reassurance that he’s doing a great job and that his contributions are meaningful will not go unnoticed. Everyone bonds with Baby differently, no matter how Dad choses to be involved, all relationships are unique and essential to Baby’s development.
By Jessica S.