Does my baby even like me?
I mean of course they like you, but do they?!?!?! Bonding with your baby as a Father is truly one of the best experiences you are ever likely to have in life but from my experience it isn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be.
For me, the first time I had ever held a baby before was when they gave me Dahlia in the operating theater and I had to ask a passing nurse to check she was still breathing and after that like every one does I was winging it on a massive learning curve of sleep deprivation. It all feels like a little bit of a blur to really get my bonding experience with Dahlia written down but I always contributed with a night feed and I always made sure the moments from waking up to leaving for work were spent with her doing whatever needed doing and sneaking all of the cuddles, she’s not so cuddly anymore :(..
So this time around with Eden we are a month in and I have written down notes of what I have done to bond and any emotions, thoughts I had along the way to give you all some Dad’s and Don’ts for those special few months..
The main difference I have noticed this time around is that it’s alot harder when they are breastfed. You are literally being screamed at to say I don’t want you, you don’t have what I want give me back to Mummy, now I really didn’t think that it would bother me but deep down it kind of does. I give him a formula or an expressed bottle during the night feed however the rest of the time when he’s hungry I have to give him back. The difficulty in it all is highlighted most in the evening when my partner has a bath. He is sleeping when she gets in but usually 15-20 minutes later he wakes up usually due to needing a new nappy and after that there is literally nothing I can do to settle him as I have no lactating bosoms to satisfy his hunger so my partner has to be oblivious to his cries as to not upset me as I try in earnest to rock/sing/cuddle him back to sleep all the while I am thinking why is she taking a 45 minute bloody bath when in reality only 5 or so minutes has passed. She then cuts the bath short (I will make these times up to her) and straight away is able to settle him in exactly the same way as I had been trying in vain for so long.
I fully understand that it’s totally selfish of me to get upset by it as the bond with his Mother started 10 months ago so I am now all about making the most of the in-between feeds to get the bonding regular and here are my Dad’s and Don’ts for you..
1. Be present, even if you feel like a bit of a spare part in the room ensure he knows your there via your voice/smell.
2. Get involved in the night feeding, you get brownie points and bonding time.
3. Actually get involved with everything, washing, changing, playing, if its time with them.
4. Don’t be jealous that it seems they love their Mother more, your time will come!
5. Let them sleep on you whichever way is comfortable for them and not necessarily for you.
6. Change as many nappies as you can, the early practise really comes in handy for the middle of the night changes.
7. Read to them, doesn’t have to be a children’s book but rhyming stories are good.
8. Get a baby carrier/sling for days out.
9. Have a stash of expressed milk.
10. Always give them to your partner when they’re hungry, don’t let your ego get in the way.
11. Remember if they are crying when you hold them its very rarely something that you’ve done.
12. Wear something that smells of the Mother to help settle them down.
13. And finally.. Never ever mess with the sleeping routine!!
If you would like to add any Dads & Don’ts advice from your own experiences then please comment below or email me so I can feature them in later posts. Also don’t forget to follow me and check out my Instagram & Facebook page for more views of my day to day life @dads_and_donts