“Nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.”
~ Bill Cosby
As a new mother there is an undeniable intuitive knowing and connection between a mother and her child . After the birth of your baby they are totally dependent on you and comforted just by your energy , scent , heartbeat and voice . All of them being the most consistent and stable things they have known for the past 9 months of their develpoment . We produce breast milk ,natures best food for our babies to thrive on , breastfeeding also deepens the connection and bonding experience between mother and child. They are helpless on their own without you . This special bond between a mother and her new baby can sometimes leave their partner feeling a bit alienated and intimidated . As important as the mother / baby connection is, so is the father/baby bonding time . The beginning is when the foundation is set , its important that they feel like they are a part of it . The earlier on and more involved the father is , the deeper and more lasting the connection between the two of them will be.
I often hear many woman fearfully complain that their husband / partner isn’t bonding or connecting with their new baby . I have spoken with a lot of men about this , ones that were actively involved from the start and ones that weren’t , here are some of the things they said and what they wished would have been :
1. The baby can’t do anything , there is nothing my baby needs from me , I will be more involved when they are older and more interactive like when I can do things with them .
Tip for the ladies – Give them a job as there is always something to do . Involve your partner right from the start , don’t alienate them . EX- ( in the morning / night let them feed them or have them take the baby for a bit after you feed so you can sleep ) , make them feel needed , thank them for helping you .
2. I try and help but she won’t let me do anything .So I just gave up trying and let her do everything.
Tip for the ladies – BIG mistake !! All this will do is shut your partner down and stop them from trying or wanting to be involved. Again find little jobs for them to do . Men love to be needed and if your partner is wanting to be involved ,then by all means let them . This will only deepen their bond and connection. Another thing I always tell my clients to do is to find reasons to leave them alone with the baby even if its at first to take a shower before feeling comfortable enough to run out to market , lunch with friends , gym , do some errands or whatever you need to do . The first time you leave your baby alone with your husband and leave the house you might panic ; make sure to breathe and call a friend and have a freak out if you need to but assure him that he can do this ! This will let him know and feel that he is trusted by you , for If he is scared ,If you believe and trust in him he will believe and trust in himself .
3. Every time I try and help she tells me I am doing it wrong , I give up ! It makes me not want to try anymore .
-Tip for the ladies- Often in relationships we are really good at pointing out what the other is doing wrong instead of focusing on what they are doing right. Same thing with parenting . Just like you are trying to find your way with your baby , you must allow your partner to find their own way too. They might do things that make you want to cringe and scream out , “OMG !! DON”T do it that way”. Take a deep breath and wait to see if they figure it out on their own. If they are having a hard time , don’t grab the baby away from them, instead try giving them some positive reinforcement . Ex- ( if they are trying to burp the baby , bouncing them up and down frantically and smacking their back a little harder then you would ever do , breathe , take a beat, gather yourself before exploding and try something like this-” Good job sweetie on getting him to drink that whole bottle ! He never drinks that much at once !! Do you think he is having a hard time burping ? Then if it feels right say something like ; something that that I have found that works ,if you want to try is too …… Trust me on this , throw them a compliment and some positive reinforcement and you will have their full attention when It comes to being open to any kind of suggestion .
“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.”
~ David Gottesman