By Sarah Palmer
Happy Father’s Day to all those wonderful dads out there! Today I am acknowledging all that you do and the work you put into providing for your family and building relationships with your little one/s.
Myth: Dad needs to give a bottle to be able to bond with their baby.
If you’re a breastfeeding family, I bet you’ve heard this one a lot, because it’s a big social belief in the mainstream parenting paradigm – that the main way you bond with a baby is by feeding them.
If it works for your family, that’s great, but for our family, that wasn’t the case and we found it comforting to know that there are many ways to build a relationship.
So, let’s look at 5 ways Dad can bond with their baby, without having to give a bottle.
We tend to hear a lot about this as an important part of initiating and establishing breastfeeding for Mum, but we don’t hear so much about how important it is for Dad as well! When your baby is skin-to-skin with you, you help them to regulate their breathing, temperature, blood sugar and heart rate and you’ll both get a boost of oxytocin (happy hormones!) that helps you both relax and bond. Being close to your baby can also help you to learn their cues so that you know when they are hungry, tired or need a change in environment. Skin-to-skin is a beautiful way to get to know each other.
Taking care of baby hygiene
After baby has had a breastfeed, you might take baby to gently burp them if they are still awake and enjoy the post-feed snuggles (just have a burp cloth on your shoulder!). Changing nappies might not be one of the fun jobs of parenting, but it actually presents a lovely time to bond because you can talk to baby while you’re changing them and sing them songs – they will love hearing your voice. Bath time is also a lovely bonding opportunity.
TIP: If your baby isn’t a fan of the bath, have a shower with them – many babies much prefer this and you get the added bonus of skin-to-skin!
It can take a bit of getting used to (especially if you have to adjust the carrier settings after Mum has been using it!), but most babies love being worn in a carrier.
This can be a great opportunity for you to get a few things done around the house, or get out for a walk so that Mum can have a rest. You can also pop baby in the pram, facing you, and go for a walk.