Congratulations! You’re a daddy! So many different things might be going through you right one but one of the most important questions we hear a lot is “how do I bond with my baby?”  

A mother has a pretty direct relationship, even physical relationship with her baby from the start. Not only did she carry him around for 9 months, in many cases she also breastfeeds the little one. For first-time dads, his relationship often goes through the mummy. The mind and body of a mother are intimately connected. If a baby starts crying, even if in another room, the mom’s body will release a hormone that let’s down her milk and make her breasts leak. That kind of physical response combined with emotional attachment means that most mothers will react more quickly and strongly to their baby’s needs.   

In the old days, these kinds of situations were not even discussed since the mother-father role division clearly stated that mom took care of the baby completely. Luckily, nowadays fathers can be and want to be more and more involved in this wonderful experience. This is great of course but we should still keep in mind that mothers are biologically and socially more strongly programmed to take care of babies. With more and more dad’s wanting to be more involved, this special mommy-baby relationship has to be understood. One of our advices is therefore to create a thick skin; your partner might correct you at times because she’s convinced to be right. Although this might be the case, remember that she’s just trying to cope with this new situation. 

Being a first-time mom is kind of like falling in love. The emotional intensity is quite similar. Observant fathers pick this up quickly and are often in awe of the special connection she seems to have with the baby. However, rookie-dads also need to develop their own relation with the little one. 

This means you’ll have to take care of him and get to know him in order to bond together. You need to feed them, interact with them, comfort them when they’re upset, keep them reasonably clean and give them a safe, comfortable place to sleep. Even though these tasks are fairly easy, in the beginning they might seem a lot more difficult. Don’t worry though; you’ll get the hang of it! These two essentials are intertwined; taking care of him will enable you to get to know him, understand his cues and respond to them adequately. After a while, you will understand his different cries and coos which will help you bond. Unlike mothers, who innately sense this, figuring out your baby’s needs is an acquired skill that takes time and togetherness. Spending quality time together on a daily basis is therefore really important. 

This might seem very doable during your paternal leave but how do you continue this when you’ve started working again? Since many dads have but 1 or 2 weeks of paternal leave, their time with the baby is often at the end of the day. Make sure that this time is not only about relieving mom after a long day but about spending some relaxed moments with your baby. This is the time when you will feel most connected so set some time aside to spend with the baby by really making it a part of your daily routine. After a while, your little one will expect his “daddy time”. This could involve being the one responsible for his evening routine; playtime, bath time, naptime. 


Helpful hints for dads:


Wear your baby: slings and front packs come in handy so you don’t always have to carry him around in your arms. The physical closeness helps the two of you bond 

Sing her a song: Nothing gets a baby calmed as her father’s voice. Really, it doesn’t matter what you sing or how good your voice is. 

Go solo: The best way to figure out how you feel comfortable around your baby is flying solo, without mom looking over your shoulder. Take your little bundle for a walk. Best times for this are in the morning after feeding. Babies are usually in a good mood around this time and moms need the rest. 30 minutes is a good start. 

Try a baby massage: Babies respond to touch, and a simple way to soothe and relax them is with a baby massage. Here’s how! 


Helpful hints for dads to relieve moms


Night shift: When the baby cries at night, take the night shift. This will give you and baby precious alone time and give mom the chance to catch some extra sleep. Be sure mom has left a few bottles in the fridge for late-night feedings. 

Keep it tidy: Do some extra chores around the house such as vacuuming, going shopping, doing the dishes. This will help her to relax. Besides, you can do all of these together with your baby by wearing a sling or front pack. In the meanwhile, let mom have a look at our article on How to Create your Own Mini Spa.

Cook: this is the time to try some of those recipes you always wanted to try. Especially the first weeks after labour your partner will be very tired and will appreciate all the extra help.