Parenting tips for dads – take time with the baby
Hi, welcome to the final instalment of the Baby to Sleep Father’s Day mini-series. I hope you have enjoyed the sessions from this week – if you want to see all four videos together you can see them on the Baby2Sleep YouTube channel.
So we’ve talked about breastfeeding and dads. We’ve talked about bedtime routines. But what else can I do to help them feel connected and develop those bonds with their baby? So there are lots of things that dads can do – and some of them only take a few minutes. A lot of them consist of taking over some of the tasks that mums are doing all day every day, and if dads can volunteer for some of those they will not only get good bonding time with the baby but mum will get some rest too, which should lead to smiles all round.
So, first up – one that mum will like is for dad to do a few nappy changes. And you might think, “oh, no!”, but actually, this is a really good time where you can connect one-to-one with your baby.
The baby is lying there looking up at you. OK, you have a job to do, but you can have some nice eye contact, you can make them smile, you can tickle their feet, you can give them a cuddle, you can just look at them and enjoy their features. And even if it’s just a few minutes, this can be just a bit of that close one-to-one time.
Another thing dads can do, they can hold the baby while they have a sleep in the early days, the skin-to-skin contact is what’s going to help release oxytocin, and that’s the love hormone that’s going to help cement those bonds.
Next up, dream feeds. (I did a whole extra video on this one so follow the link if you want to know more)
So if you’ve decided to use a bottle, whether it be for expressed milk or formula, dad can get in there with the dream feeds, and give mum a rest. This can be a really nice time in the middle of the night where you can connect one-to-one with your baby. They’re in your arms, they’re calm, they’re not crying at you, and you’re just giving them a feed and you’re having that close connection.
Dad might also decide to take some of the night wakings – the ones where you know that it is not a hunger thing and that mum’s not needed. You might decide to take some of those as well, take some of the pressure off mum.
At the end of the day, you’re in this together, You’ve created a baby together and you need to support each other. And I know it also seems like it’s all about mum, but you know what we’ve got to start thinking about dad as well. And by keeping those lines of communication open, you can work together and you can have a really good relationship with each other and with your baby.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the Father’s Day miniseries. If you’d like to join a community of parents who are going through the same sorts of things as yourself, hop over to the Baby2Sleep Village and join the group there.
And whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope you have a Happy Father’s Day!