More and more men are taking their role as daddy very seriously. There are many Internet sites dedicated to new fathers and helping them to navigate through the challenges. Member sites just for new dads are filling up quickly and daddy’s rush from work to attend their child’s nursery school event or soccer game. Never before has there been such an interest in hands on parenting in new fathers. As a new father for the second time, I feel it is very important to bond and interact with your child early on.
In the past, the majority of fathers were delighted with the new baby on the way, but coolly waited out the pregnancy not getting too involved except to assemble nursery furniture and attend birthing classes with their partner. Most only became involved when their child was old enough to interact with them.
Women tend to bond faster with the new baby for obvious reasons. Mothering and nurturing come naturally to most new mommies, with a little common sense thrown in. Mothers learn to be a mother from the moment they are aware they are pregnant. It’s their job to take care of the baby in their body and that caring naturally continues after the birth. Some quick tips for early bonding include:
- Changing diapers and clothes – have fun with it and talk to your baby as you are doing it! Hearing your voice and laughter will help with bring you and your baby closer.
- Playing with your baby. I like playing peek-a-boo with my new son. You would think he would get tired of it, but he would love it if I do it all day!
- Get involved in the feeding process, you may need to wait a bit if your wife is breastfeeding though 🙂
- Even young babies like to hear your voice, if you don’t like singing songs (‘rock-a-by’ ‘hush-little-baby’ etc), reading short stories are another idea.
- As they start becoming older start to open up and develop your ‘inner child’ around him or her and be involved in thier play and learning.
Unfortunately, fathers don’t experience what mothers do. They have to learn to parent after the baby arrives. Suddenly they are expected to know how to be a father. They’ll draw upon their experiences growing up with their father and most will parent exactly as their fathers did. This can be good or it can be bad.
During the pregnancy, the mother-to-be is busy recording every thought, feeling and wish into her pregnancy journal. This process allows her to reflect and to plan how she will mother this new child. This process puts her far ahead of the new father when the new baby arrives.
It’s time to level the playing field and help the daddy-to-be bond earlier with his new child. Mothers can help by:
- Getting daddy to answer some of the questions in her pregnancy journal
- Have daddy record an audio for his new child of his hopes and wishes
- Write letters to his child during the pregnancy
- Have daddy think about how he was raised and how he wants to raise his new child
Too many children have grown up not knowing their father. It’s not natural for most men to verbalize their emotions or to record them. Our children have an intimate keepsake from their mothers. It’s time we help new fathers into fatherhood and assist them in bonding with our children during the pregnancy.