Father’s Day miniseries – Helping Dad Bond with Baby
Hi, welcome to the Baby2Sleep Father’s Day miniseries.
Over the next week, I will be sharing some top tips with you on how we can encourage and support new dads on the journey into parenthood.
For mums, it often comes much more naturally, one reason for this is the oxytocin which is released while we’re in labour. This is the love hormone that cements and creates those bonds. It also produces while we’re breastfeeding and through skin-to-skin contact. And all these incredible things are just naturally there for us mums.
These things can be harder for dads because for a start, they don’t go through labour. So they’ve got to work harder to be able to get that oxytocin to release. That can be done through skin to skin.
But it can also be one of those things where dads think, well, how and when am I supposed do that, because baby needs to be with mum – that’s going to help her milk production and all these things.
So sometimes dad can feel a little bit side-lined, and that can potentially lead to a bit of resentment. It can also be a trigger for low mood, which is something we don’t want to do. If that does happen, that can lead to a bit of resentment in the relationship at a point when you need to be really strong together and supporting each other.
So, over the next few days, I will be sending out some top tips on how to help dad feel needed by both baby and by mum. We’re building up to Father’s Day next weekend on June 20th when I’m sure you will show dad just how appreciated he is with presents and all sorts of lovely things.
We all love to feel needed. You know, it’s just who we are. It’s in our nature. We can’t help but want to feel like we’re helping, that we are valued. I think for dads, the fact that they aren’t physically able to produce milk that keeps that baby alive, that in itself can be quite disheartening and it can feel like a bit of a separation barrier. How do they from being over here to connecting with the baby, especially when us mums pretend that we’ve got it all together?
I say pretend – for most of us, we might look like we’ve got it going fine, when actually we’re just ducks paddling frantically under the water. We obviously don’t have it all together at all.
So I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on how, as mums, we can actually ask and accept help from our partners. And it’s really important that we actually do that.
OK, so I do know all too well that frustration, when you’ve been at home all day with the kids, everything is set up ready for bedtime and literally five minutes before you’re about to head upstairs, dad comes in.
“Woo Hoo – Daddy’s home!” And your child goes “Wahey, daddy’s home!” Cue rough and tumble and much excitement from both dad and child.
And then suddenly bedtime’s gone out the window and you’re there feeling really stressed and really frustrated and very resentful and thinking, “I’ve got to pick up the pieces here and I’ve got to get this child wound down and I’ve got to find a way to get them to bed, while dad goes off and does whatever he wants….”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could flip that a little bit and look at that situation and think, “They’ve been at work all day and this is a really nice time for them to bond together” and to look at it as a happy moment while you take a bit of a rest?
It’s something that’s actually really, really hard when we’re tired and we haven’t thought this through.
So if I share some communication strategies with you and give you some top tips over the next week, that might just help keep those lines of communication open and help bonding with dad and your child as well, while also helping your relationship at the same time.
I hope you enjoy this series – look out for more posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week as we run up to Father’s Day on Sunday 20th June. Part 2 is now published here
If you want to chat about this or any other baby issues with other parents at a similar stage to you, please come and join us in Baby2Sleep Village Facebook group