Parenting

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! 

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  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! 

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

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.

What Does a Postpartum Doula Do? - Part Three

Today we’ll share our final thoughts on the role of our Postpartum Doula. This is Part 3 of a three-part series on the ABCs of Postpartum Doulas. If you haven’t read through the whole previous parts you can check them out here: Part 1 and Part 2

What Does a Postpartum Doula Do? - Part Two

Last week we shared Part 1 of our three-part series on the role of a Postpartum Doula. And today we are continuing on with the ABCs of a Postpartum Doula with Part 2!


J- Judgment Free Zone - There are so many different ways to parent and the needs of every family vary. Your doula will never question your choices and will always offer her support and expertise without judgment. We believe having a judgment-free doula is imperative. Read more about why here.

K- Kangaroo Care - Bonding is crucial for your baby and for you. Your doula is there to facilitate and encouraging different avenues of bonding. From skin-to-skin, to baby wearing, to bath time - there are lots of ways to enjoy your time with your baby. Bonus - it helps balance your mood and babies too!

L- Listening - To be frank, there are some postpartum visits where we just sit on the couch with some tea and listen. Pregnancy, birth, & postpartum are transformative moments in a person’s life and there is a lot of change in a very short period of time. Sometimes you’ll just need to talk things out and you will have a compassionate listener there to do so.

M- Mental Health - Postpartum Depression is taboo. It’s a scary thing for people to think about. It’s also only one piece of the wide spectrum of postpartum mood disorders. Not only does your doula know what signs to look for she can bring them to your attention and get you connected to resources and treatment. Postpartum mood disorders do not discriminate. No one is immune. And support is crucial. There is no shame in getting help and your doula will be there for you throughout the process. Additionally, some studies show that having postpartum help can reduce the risk of postpartum mood disorders.

N- Normalizing - Babies do random things. They make weird noises and breathe differently than we do, especially the first few days of life. If you’re new to this baby thing seeing some of these random things may cause panic or fear. But your doula has seen it all and will be there to remind you that it’s normal and nothing to be concerned about. If she cannot reassure you that it’s normal she will encourage you to reach out to your pediatrician.

O- Organization - Diapers, creams, wipes, onesies, socks, swaddles, clothes from 0 months to 3 years… so many baby things all in one small nursery! As an expert in baby care and pros at finding nursery solutions she can help organize things so they make sense and are quick to find in the dark at 2am. During her regular visits she’ll make sure that all of your supplies are stocked and alert you if anything needs to be purchased. She can even do a Target run for you!

P- Privacy - Our doulas do not and will not share personal information about any of our clients. Ever. Read more about our Privacy Pledge here.

Q- Quiet - Babies cry. Sometimes more than you might expect. Crying is a babies way of communicating but deciphering WHAT your baby is trying to communicate can be tricky at first. During your postpartum visits your doula can offer you some respite from the crying. She can take over care of your baby and send you to your bedroom with earplugs so you can sleep without interruption knowing full well that your baby is being beautifully cared for.

R- Reality - She won’t sugar coat stuff for you (unless that’s what you really need). She’ll tell you the truth about the realities of parenting and help you finds solutions for things that are challenging. And she’ll do it with grace and humor. Your doula will keep it real because we believe that you deserve to know the truth about parenting so you’re not blindsided by the unknown.

We’ll finish our series with Part 3 next week - stay tuned!

Scientific Reasons to Sling Your Baby {Guest Post}

It’s no secret that we are all huge fans of babywearing here at Doulas of OC. There’s nothing sweeter than having an adorable baby snuggled into your chest and babywearing makes that possible and easy for parents to achieve day in and day out! Today we are joined by Neve Spicer at We The Parents, a parenting & lifestyle blog. Neve shares our love for babywearing and is providing more information on the scientific side behind this ancient parenting practice.