With Father’s Day fast approaching this weekend I thought it was the ideal time to talk about Dad.
When it comes to bonding and making those connections with your newborn it can appear a little daunting for many new Dads. Mums, by the very nature of being a Mum (most of the time) make very early connections with their baby and the Dads can be left wondering how they are able to forge those early bonds.
Dads play an essential role and the relationship that develops is critical to the child’s social and emotional development. The transition into parenthood can be stressful and some Dads feel uncertain about what their role is and how they can be more involved and make those connections.
Ways for Dad to Connect
Skin to Skin Contact – cuddle, hold and stroke your baby
Talk, Read, Sing! – your baby quickly becomes attuned to your voice & guess what….they are listening to you and may respond!
Out and About – take your baby for a walk in the pram or baby carrier
Feeding – if breastfeeding, Mum may be able to express so Dad can feed or the Dad can burp and settle after feeds. If bottle feeding Dads can help in the preparation of the expressed or formula milk and also feed.
Daily Care – bathing, nappy changing and settling
Baby massage can be an invaluable way for Dad and baby to connect.
Benefits of Massage for Father and Baby
- Lowers stress levels of the Father
- Increases Fathers confidence in handling their baby
- Increase self esteem
- Increased emotional attachment with their baby
A recent study shows that supporting fathering through baby massage “that participating fathers were helped by increasing their feelings of competence, role acceptance, spousal support, attachment, and health and by decreasing feelings of isolation and depression”. The study concluded
“Infant massage classes appear to offer fathers the positive experience of meeting other fathers and enjoying the opportunity to share their fathering experience”
No matter how old we are, relationships take time to develop. The relationship between baby and mother and father are by their very nature different but both equally as important. The power of touch enhances the growing bond between children and their parents, helping us to build healthy, happy and loving relationships.
Due to feedback from some father’s feeling a little intimidated in a room full of mothers, Wild Lace Wellbeing now offers father only Introduction classes. An ideal way for new fathers to connect with other’s in your area who wish to find new ways to connect with their baby. Of course, father’s are still welcome to attend our more regular Introduction and Instruction classes.
Research: Cheng, C.D., Volk, A., Marini, Z.A. (2011). Published The Journal of Perinatal Education. 20 (4), 200 – 209)