Raising Daddy: Help Dad Bond with Your Baby
A good Mom will never let the baby’s Dad near her baby. Unless it is for family pictures. Forget about letting Dad bond with baby. All the magazine articles with baby and dad bonding are for the mamas who drink and swear and are not good mothers. You...YOU are the best mama a baby could get, and you know how to do everything perfectly.
Even if you are still only pregnant and have never had a baby before. You are already a good mom.
So do not let your man anywhere near your baby and you can change every diaper for the next three years perfectly. All. by. Yourself.
If you do not like the sound of this, the best advice to help dad and baby bonding happen is to simply get out of the way. If you see a mom who “has to do everything” for her children it is either because she has a man who isn’t interested in helping take care of the baby or she never encouraged him too.
When you are expecting your first baby you may be a bit nervous about this parenting gig. Heck, you should be nervous about it even when you are expecting your fifth baby! Whether you are giving birth, adopting, or picking up your newborn baby at the Stork’s Cabbage Patch Sale, you want to do everything right. Let me tell you now, you won’t . You will fail as a mama. Then you will be perfect. And again...horrible crash and burn parenthood style. If you want to be the Mom who does everything right, you had better be a single parent.
What? You are married or shacking up with your Baby Daddy? Well then, you may want to be certain Dad and Baby bonding happens from the beginning.
Change every diaper yourself for the next three years Or try these three tips:
1) Let Dad know you do not know what you are doing either.
Bonding with baby happens through shared experiences. My husband and I were both new parents. Sure, I may have read more pregnancy and parenting books, but neither one of us had experienced parenthood before. When my husband would look to me as the default expert, I would say “Gee, I am new at this too, what do you think we should do?” Even if I had an idea of what I wanted to do, I was interested in his take on things as the Dad. He often surprised me with his patience and creative ideas for distracting, engaging and bonding with our baby. If I had always taken charge, my husband would have always expected it in the future. Now he helps with our girls and is completely capable of doing it all by himself.
2) Teach Dad how to bond with the baby...or not.
Men tend to be more physical with their babies while women tend to be more nurturing. If your husband is bonding with the baby by "roughhousing", check yourself before speaking up, or worse, complaining. As long as the baby is not in any danger, understand that Dads need to play and bond their own way. If you swoop in or correct how he is playing with your child, he will be less confident to try in the future.
Of course, distraction works well with children, and with Dads too! If you really feel anxious about the level of play, offer a task for Dad to complete with baby such as feeding, working on a special toy or handing him the needed items for the dreaded diaper change. Making new experiences, and new mistakes helps dad and baby bond more than following your directions!
3) Your way is not the right way.
Your way is just “a” way. If you do not remember this, you can easily become the overbearing mama we all dread. Fathers need time and freedom to navigate parenthood. Bonding with their baby is new to them too, and they are likely to feel anxious and unsure of themselves at first. Your friends and family assume you know how to mother your baby, and that Dad will run away at the first sight of diapers. Help your man bond with baby by allowing him to build his own relationship his way.
Bonding with baby is so important for Dads to figure out on their own. They need to know you trust them with baby. They need to see you leaving them alone to do it their way. A good mother knows encouraging their baby’s Dad to bond with their baby will raise up a great Dad. And then someone else can help with all those dirty diapers.