Often parents ask me, how can my partner bond with our baby if they can't give a bottle? Well feeding is only one element in your babies whole life! There are so many things for partners to do. Below is a list of just SOME of the ways you can bond without feeding your baby. Snuggle your baby close any time mum needs a hands-free break.
Trust your instincts, and relax. If you are calm, baby will be calm too.
Bounce on the birth ball together.
Enjoy skin to skin time.
Walk baby around and help her find interesting colours and patterns to stare at.
Tell your baby the story of how you met his mother.
Wrap baby snugly in a blanket and rock with her..
Who says breastfeeding bonding and oxytocin highs are only for the mums? snuggle up with mum and baby while they are nursing – research shows that snuggle time increases the father/partners oxytocin levels, too. So breastfeeding is bonding for both parents!
Have a conversation. Pay attention to the way your newborn will focus on you, then shift his gaze elsewhere. The back and forth in these early eye-gazing and cooing sessions is called “synchrony,” and it will develop into more sophisticated social interactions as baby matures.
Share your favourite music with baby. Go ahead and sing, baby will love it!
Give baby a bath..
Play an instrument? Give your newborn a concert.
Gently burp baby after she finishes nursing.
Help soothe a crying baby by gently swaying and shushing loudly.
Make funny faces at baby. Babies as young as a day old can imitate the facial expressions they see.
Change his nappy, and get lots of gazing and smiles in while you’re at it.
Wrap baby up in a front carry sling and snuggle up to that sweet-smelling head. Need help figuring out how to use your stretchy wrap? See www.babywearingireland.ie
Some babies love to be lulled in a buggy, so strap him in and spend some time out and about.
Dress baby. Do it mindfully, taking time to check in with her and see how she is experiencing it. Describe to her what you are doing. Enjoy the moment, rather than making it just another item to check off your to do list.
Take pictures. Lots of pictures.
Find an older, soft t-shirt with some stretch. Give the neck hole a good snip down the middle toward the chest. Now put the t-shirt on, relax against some propped-up pillows, and tuck your newborn up skin to skin underneath it with you. Snuggle!
Give baby a relaxing massage. Not only will it facilitate bonding, but massage can also aid sleep and digestion, boost baby’s immune system, and improve circulation, among other benefits.
Create a ritual, something special that you share only with your baby. Like a bedtime story, or evening massage.
Nurture his sense of touch: introduce him to different textures (cotton, satin, corduroy, etc.).
Talk to baby about whatever is on your mind. Babies love to hear our voices; they’ve listened to them from inside the womb for the last nine months!
Let baby orient to fun sounds. Try shaking a rattle or squeaking a soft toy near baby; he will turn his head to find the sound.
Start practicing your nursery rhymes, finger plays, and silly songs. They can help you bond with your baby now, and later when he is older he can sing along.
Read to your baby. What were your favourite books or nursery rhymes?
Gently and softly run your fingers along baby’s face, arms, hands. Memorize every crease, every baby soft bit of chub. She won’t be this little for long!
Share pictures of friends and family – babies love to look at faces. You can also try to show baby a mirror. She won’t know it is her in the reflection for quite a while, but she will like that baby face!
Close your eyes and focus on your baby’s smell. Would you be able to pick him out of a baby line-up using only your nose? A baby’s sense of smell is “highly developed at birth” – he can remember the smells he is most familiar with; namely, his parents. Let baby smell you, not the heavy fragrances of cologne or chemical-laden deodorant
.Find a quiet place and listen to your little one’s heartbeat. After you’ve mentally recorded this miracle, snuggle her up close to your chest and let her listen to yours.
Savour this magical time & trust your instincts – you’ve got this.