The day you become a parent for the first time is usually also the day you feel completely unsure of everything. I distinctly remember the nurses at the hospital helping us load our first born child into the carseat and the car, giving us well wishes, and walking away. Then there was that moment in the car where my husband and I both looked at one another with excitement and panic and wondered what on earth we’d just gotten ourselves into. I had read several books while pregnant so I felt prepared for the basics, but real life seldom goes as planned. My body was gearing up to feed this new human and my husband, well, he was going to drive the car.
As a newborn photographer I’ve photographed hundreds of newborn babies and I’ve seen all kinds of dads. I’ve seen Dads that are super hands on and want to participate in every little thing, and those Dads who are afraid to touch the baby for fear they might make it cry. There were Dads who seemed to have already bonded with their baby and Dads that would have rather been anywhere on earth besides the same room with that baby. I get it. It’s new. It’s different. It’s not something every man is just born to do. Bonding is very important. The greater the bond, the greater the sense of responsibility and the desire to protect the baby and his/her mother. Bonding can last a lifetime. It’s ok if he’s not the perfect Dad on day one. It’s a skill that can be learned. While at first these suggestions may seem more like work, don’t under estimate the importance of valuable time spent together. They are wonderful opportunities for Dad and baby to get to know and value each other. “Play time” won’t come along for a few months. The beginning is crucial. Bonding is creating trust between the baby and the adult.
Here’s 4 BIG ways for new Dads to bond with their newborn baby:
1- Bed time routines
In the beginning, it may seem as if there is no routine at all. It’s still important to start establishing those bed time routines in the first week of life. Commonly, I’m told that baby has their days and nights mixed up. Yes, the is true for ALL babies and is not unique to you. It could take weeks or months before baby is sleeping their longest stretch at night instead of during the day, but the routines should still be practiced from the first week of life. Bath time, feeding time, snuggle time and rocking time are all part of that routine. Dads who jump in and participate in the cycle will reap the rewards of having bonded in the early days. While babies generally hate bath time in the first two weeks, they quickly adjust and it becomes some of the most fun moments of the day.
2- Take a night shift
If mom is pumping her milk, or if formula is on the menu, Dad can feed baby and take a night shift or two. Feeding time is bonding time. Newborn babies have poor vision at first and can only see short distances. Usually just far enough to focus on the face of the person holding them. Dads face needs to be one of the faces they stare at in their short awake time. If mom is breastfeeding exclusively, then she’s going to be the primary care giver by default. She’s going to be up every few hours around the clock. Dads presence can make a big difference during this transition time. Even if Dad can’t participate in the feeding, he can bring baby to mom, burp baby, and help sooth baby back to sleep afterwards. This is not only bonding with baby, it’s also bonding with Mom by letting her know that you are there in these tough first nights to experience the joys and frustrations that surely arise.
3- Diaper Duty
Changing diapers is a routine to be done a dozen times at day. While cleaning up the messes seems gross, it’s also excellent bonding time. It’s a way to get to know your baby’s temperament and how to sooth them afterwards. Diapering time puts the diaper changer firmly in baby’s view. The interactions get better and more fun as baby grows over the first few months. Before long you’ll think less about the gross and more about the smiles. Dads who change diapers regularly form a stronger bond with their baby.
4- Sooth the tears
The word ‘bonding’ often brings up the thought of ‘happy times spent together.’ This isn’t always the case. Newborns, just like older children, have their emotional highs and lows. Bonding isn’t just about laying a sleeping baby on your chest while watching the ball game on TV. Bonding happens in times of stress as well. Every baby is different. It takes some trial and error to learn how to sooth your baby when they are restless or upset. These are powerful bonding moments. Walking, rocking, patting, and snuggling are all good things to try. Learning which technique calms your baby will make you the MVP.
See more of the Newborn’s we’ve photographed HERE.
MORE ABOUT OUR STUDIO:
Vanessa G. Photography always has the goal of turning your most precious memories in life into art works for you to cherish on display in your home for a lifetime. We never want you to forget the milestones in life. Those happy times that define you, that changed you, and molded you into the person you are destined to become. We serve clients form Fort Bragg and Fayetteville, NC to Wilmington, NC and the coast. We operate by appointment only so that we can dedicate 100% of our time to you, making you our most important person, when you are in our studio. Our client’s have made us thankful to have been able to create photography treasures for their families, and their words have touched our heart. We’d love to do the same thing for you, and earn your words of praise by making sure you enjoy every aspect of your experience with us. If you are in need of a newborn photographer in Fayetteville, we are the only Certified Professional Photographer in your area specializing in newborn photography.
Visit our website for Session information! www.vanessagphotography.com