When your bundle of joy arrives, usually the focus is on Mom and the new baby’s bond, which makes total sense! Science shows that a strong bond between a mother and child boasts plenty of benefits, such as increased immunity.
But what about dads? Even though there’s less emphasis on this relationship in the early days of a little one’s life, that doesn’t make it any less important. And there are a few easy ways to strengthen this special father-child relationship, starting from day one. Here are six simple dad-baby bonding activities to try.
Learn the 5 S’s
By learning the 5 S’s — the key to the calming reflex — you can become the master of soothing your baby. The 5 S’s are an on switch for calming and an off switch for crying. Some babies need all 5 S’s (swaddling, side or stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking) to really settle, and some just need a few to quiet them down. As a new dad, you can help your baby to be the calmest baby on the block. That will lead to some awesome bonding time and give Mom a much-needed break. Bonus: Dads tend to be amazing baby-calmers!
We know that skin-to-skin contact is a helpful bonding tool between Mom and baby, as it prompts the body to release hormones that relieve stress. Did you know the same thing happens when Dad has skin-to-skin contact with his little one? This is a great way to strengthen Dad’s bond, and it even results in less crying. Talk about a win-win.
You know how aah-mazing you feel after a massage? Well, babies love them, too! Give your little one a massage after bathtime or before bedtime. Learn tips and tricks here.
Take a walk
Hit the road with your baby in tow. Bonus points if you use a baby carrier so they’re right on your chest. They’ll enjoy the sights and sounds, and being nice and close to you (and Mom probably won’t mind the extra time to herself either).
Become a diaper dad
Take over diaper duty. If Mom chooses to breastfeed, you can’t step in there, but you can make diapers your domain. If this doesn’t sound like a bonding activity, think twice. You can tickle, play peek-a-boo and sing to your little one as you change them.
Just hang out
Place your baby on your lap and spend time looking into each other’s eyes, giggling and cooing. This time is so fleeting and precious. Before you know it, you’ll blink and that baby on your lap will be talking and walking … and on their way to kindergarten! By taking a few minutes just to enjoy these short-lived baby days, you’ll make memories that will last forever.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by Happiest Baby and republished with permission.