If mom is exclusively breastfeeding it might seem as if baby is attached to mom much of the day, leaving you with limited bonding time. While at first it might seem this way, there are plenty of ways for dad to bond without feeding baby.
1. Burp and change baby before, during and after feeds. In the early days baby eats very often which means lots of burps and diapers. It may not seem glamorous but its necessary and caring for your little one will help with bonding.
2. Bath time! Many babies enjoy a nice warm and soothing bath. Whether a bath is part of an evening routine or used a soothing technique for a fussy baby, it is a great opportunity to care for baby. See how soothing a bath can be: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OPSAgs-exfQ
3. Give mom a break and comfort a crying baby with the “colic hold.” Babies have sensitive tummies and sometimes they are upset. Many moms find their forearms a little too petite to pull of this hold but most dads are perfect for it. To see the colic hold: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2r36-RzULck
4. Babywearing. Babies love the closeness of being against a parent’s chest and hearing their heartbeat. If you use a carrier you can keep baby close while going about your day. In the home office, while taking care of errands or even just a stroll for fresh air.
5. Go out for walks. Babies enjoy fresh air just as much as anyone. Whether in a carrier or stroller you can spend some time with your little one while walking your neighborhood and giving mom a little break if she desires.
6. Participate in a bedtime routine. Reading to baby, rocking and walking with baby can help settle them before or after nursing, depending on whether or not baby often falls asleep at the breast. By bedtime mom is often exhausted and your participation not only relieves mom for a bit but it gives you a great opportunity for bonding.
7. Infant massage. Touch is a need just as much as oxygen and food are needs. Infant massage has many benefits including being an aid for bonding. To learn more about infant massage: http://www.infantmassageusa.org/
8. Work for that smile! Around a few weeks to a couple months baby starts to smile socially. Making silly faces, talking in funny tones and showing toys can bring on that wonderful smile. Playing, smiling and giggling with your baby is an excellent way to build your relationship together.
9. Practice skin to skin. Skin to skin is a wonderful way to bond. It releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone, in both you and baby.
10. Talk to baby. At first it may seem unusual to have a one sided conversation but talking to your baby is great for both of you. Tell them about your day, tell them you love them, tell them anything you want. Talking to baby is stimulating and teaches them about sounds and communication. By the time your baby is old enough to verbally communicate the two of you have already built a rapport.
Feeding is only one tool in the bonding process. Whether mom chooses to exclusively breastfeed, bottle feed occasionally or fully bottle feed you can have an excellent bond with baby.