When experts talk about bonding, they’re referring to the intense attachment you develop with your baby. It’s the feeling that makes you want to shower him with love and affection and doing all you can to protect him or her.
The parent-child bond strengthens over time through everyday caregiving. There’s no magic formula, but a few things can help the process along.
- Have skin to skin time. The touch is soothing for both you and your baby, so hold him often and stroke him gentle.
- Talk and sing to him regularly, with strong eye contact and your face up close.
- Play with him every day. Newborns enjoy playing as much as older babies. Your style of play may be different than your partner’s, and that’s okay. Your baby will love playing with both of you.
- Carry your baby with you or as you go about your daily routine.
- Sing and read to him regularly. Hold him close as you do so.
- Mirror and copy all vocalizations. These are the first steps to communicating with him.
- Talk to your baby throughout the day. At first it may seem like you’re talking to yourself, but it will start to feel more natural if you keep it up.
Some dads feel bonded to their baby within the first few minutes or days of birth, but it may take a little longer – that’s perfectly normal. After all, a brand-new little human has just landed in your lap! You also may be helping your partner recover from birth, and you probably haven’t slept for more than a couple hours at a time. Take it easy on yourself, and know that the bond will develop before long.