Top 8 Ways for a Dad to Bond with a New Baby!

As a dad, oftentimes the reality of having a baby doesn't set in until they're born. Even then, bonding can take a while and this new role of fatherhood can feel oh, so intimidating. We get it and it's completely normal. You didn't carry, birth or nurse your baby and it all feels abstract. 

One of my favorite parts of being a Postpartum Doula is to help dads grow closer to their babies and watch their confidence soar.

Check out Doulas of OC’s top 8 tips for dads to bond with their newborn! 

12273770_10207461389560092_523434530682389637_o.jpg
 
picsea-357048-unsplash.jpg
  1. Reading Aloud 

    Pick your favorite books, hold your baby in your lap and read, read, read. Not only does reading to your baby help encourage early language development, but she will love listening to the unique tone and natural rhythm of your voice. If you have a hard time with basic board books, try pulling out your favorite PG chapter book to read aloud. Baby doesn’t care too much about the content, they care about connection

  2. Bath Time Bubbles 

    Bath time is a perfect way to introduce a simple routine that can be just for you and baby. Whether it’s every night before bed or every other day, you will gain confidence as you care for your little one and ensure a special time carved out to enjoy being a dad.  

  3. Infant Massage 

    Physical touch is so very important for brain development and emotional security. By introducing a basic massage routine to your week, the bonding hormone, oxytocin will be flowing in both baby and dad. The release of this hormone creates a strong attachment and actually increases your desire to be present and close with those you love.  

  4. Singing During Diaper Changes 

    Diaper changes. It’s a mundane occurrence that happens way too often, right? A baby needs 8-12+ diaper changes a day, which leaves SO many opportunities to connect with your baby while they’re usually awake. I like to encourage fathers to utilize this time making eye contact with their baby and sing a song. Before you know it, it will be the favorite part of your day. 

  5. Tummy Time Giggles 

    Play is the foundation for early childhood. Get down on the floor and play with your baby. Make silly faces, shake a rattle, tickle their toes and imitate their sounds. You have many more years of play ahead of you, so start now by building a strong attachment rooted in joy.

  6. Shirtless Bottle Feeds 

    We promise this idea wasn’t just started by new moms waiting for their 6 week clearance. Multiple studies show that holding your baby skin-to-skin while feeding them, increases bonding, regulates baby’s temperature and encourages baby to be accustomed to your scent. Simply get your little one in a diaper only, cradle them upright in the nook of your arm, make eye contact and feed your baby.

  7. Master the Swaddle  

    There’s nothing like watching a new dad beam with pride as he calms his crying baby. From the football hold to bouncing on the yoga ball, to swaddling and shhhhhhhhing; a postpartum doula will help you practice each and every soothing technique for your fussy newborn!

  8. All the Cuddles 

    The desire to be held spans across every age and starts from the moment you’re born. Babies are often go from rocker, to swing, to crib to tummy time and crave to touch from those they love.  You don’t need to hold your baby all day long to create a strong bond. Plop your baby in your arms while catching up on the morning paper or snuggle during the basketball game. As a doula, I teach all dads how to use a baby-carrier to be able to get some baby snuggles in while still having both hands free! 

dads_orange_county_bonding


We hope this list gave you some ideas to start building connecting with your newborn baby in your every day routine!

Breastfeeding Basket - A Guide for New Moms

When you’re breastfeeding during the newborn stage, the nursing sessions almost feel constant. With 8-12 feeds a day on average, you spend a lot of time feeding your sweet baby. In our work as postpartum doulas, we find it’s super helpful to create a simple basket of essentials that is portable and easy to grab with one hand. Here’s our go to guide for creating a Breastfeeding Basket!

  1. A lightweight basket with a handle

    You’ll want something like this large market basket from Plum + Sparrow that you can easily move from the sofa to the bed to the nursery chair.

  2. Water Bottle

    Breastfeeding makes you THIRSTY! Get something durable, easy to drink from and large enough that you don’t need to keep refilling it. The Yeti rambler fits the bill.

  3. Nipple Cream & Chapstick

    An organic cream that you can rub in to keep the area hydrated helps bring some relief to your nipples. Left over breastmilk and coconut oil are great options as a nipple cream too. Along the same lines of being so thirsty during nursing, we find having chapstick always on hand is great.

  4. All the Burp Cloths

    SO MUCH spit up. Squirting milk from oversupply. Milk everywhere is inevitable. Keep a good stock of these on hand. We’re loving these organic ones by Milkbarn with the loveliest grapefruit design.

  5. Extra Onesies

    Again with the fore-mentioned spit up, along with poop explosions; we recommend having a few clean onesies within reach. The ethically made and environmentally friendly clothes at Shop Nature Supply have the cutest selection of onesies.

  6. Rattle

    There are some babies that are always waving their hands around or trying get their fist in their mouth during feeding. Having an easy to grab rattle nearby helps!

  7. One Handed Snacks

    Whether you stock up on some nutritious store bought granola bars or make your own food; always make sure to have plenty of nutrient dense snacks. Nut butter packets, bars, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and of course chocolate are all great options.

  8. Diapers + Wipes

    When you’re in the middle of catching up on This is Us episodes, the last thing you want to do is get up for a diaper change. Always stock a few extras in your basket.


Breastfeeding Bakset_Orange County.png

We hope this gives you something to do during the nesting weeks before you baby’s arrival and makes those first months of breastfeeding a little bit easier on you.

The Myth of Modern Day Motherhood

The Myth of Modern Day Motherhood

Doulas of Orange County has a simple mission; to walk alongside of parents with steadfast support during the most monumental, exhausting, transformative and joyful experience of their lives; welcoming a baby to the world. The fertility journey, the pregnancy, the birth and bringing a newborn home are intense and surreal. 

The books don’t fully prepare you, friends can overwhelm you, media can terrify you and your well meaning family can often judge your choices.

At Doulas of OC we believe that you shouldn’t just survive this time, but that you should thrive in parenthood. 

In the Spotlight: Dr. Jane Macris

Our “In the Spotlight” series returns to the scene in 2019 with one of our favorite humans on the planet: Dr. Jane Macris of Blooming Chiropractic. We met Jane back in 2015 when we had office space for rent in our Costa Mesa office. Her energy, smile, and warmth are infectious and we love her heart for serving families. Dr. Jane graduated from Life West Chiropractic College West, where she learned a range of techniques (from gentle, low force to instrument assisted) to address the pregnant and pediatric spine. She is currently pursuing her diploma from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and is Webster Certified to better serve her clients. Jane now has her own beautiful office (just across the street from our old one!) and her business is indeed blooming. We had the chance to catch up with Dr. Jane to learn more about how things are going and reconnect after many months had passed and we’re excited to share more about her with you all!

Daylight Savings Time: Tips to "Spring Forward"

Daylight Savings Time: Tips to "Spring Forward"

As the time change approaches, more and more parents are reaching out to us to chat about how to get their baby or toddler to easily adjust to “springing forward.” It’s my opinion that this is the easier of the two time changes, especially when you have kiddos! Despite it being easier than “falling back”, it can still be helpful to have a plan in place to minimize disruptions and keep your day-to-day schedule flowing nicely.

These are general tips that will work for most families with babies 4+ months through adolescence. If you’re interested in a personalized sleep assessment with clear goals to stick to as we approach the time change, you can schedule a 90-minute video call with me here to assess your baby’s sleep.