How To Nurture a Daddy-Baby Bond - Baby Chick
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How To Nurture a Daddy-Baby Bond

Read about one family's experience with baby preferring their mother and discover how they improved the bond between Daddy and baby.

Updated April 26, 2024

One of my favorite things about being a parent is watching my husband play and bond with our kids. They love him to pieces, ask for him constantly when he’s not home, and climb all over him when he is. But, when they were babies, it was tricky for him to form a Daddy-Baby bond with them. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. He is one of the most engaged dads I’ve ever met and worked so hard to bond with them from the day they were born. But I cannot tell you how many times they would cry for Mommy when Daddy was trying to hold or play with them. He was so defeated. He was putting everything into bonding with them, and he felt like they were rejecting him.

I’m a numbers girl, so when my son was about 3 months old, I calculated it out . . . I had nursed him about eight times a day since the day he was born, which meant at only 3 months old, I had already nursed him over 700 times. Wow! That is 700 times that he expressed a need, and I was the only one who could meet it. He had already learned in his little three months of life that Mommy was the jam! But of course, we knew that Daddy was also awesome — we just had to convince baby of it. Thus began our quest to find ways to nurture the Daddy-Baby bond.

How To Nurture a Daddy-Baby Bond

Here’s what worked for us to nurture the bond between my husband and our babies:

1. Find Ways for Dad To Meet Baby’s Physical Needs

We found that when Daddy helped meet their physical needs, in addition to snuggling with them or playing with them, it really helped our babies bond with him. He started helping with one feeding each day while I pumped a bottle for the next. He would rock them to sleep, give them baths, change their diapers, and help feed them solid foods once they got big enough.

Related: Ways Dads Can Be Involved in Baby Care

2. Leave Dad and Baby Alone Together

When Daddy is taking care of baby, I would give them some space. This doesn’t mean I necessarily leave the house (although it can be an excellent chance to take a little break). I’ve found it helps, though, to leave the room so baby isn’t scrambling to be as close to me (and milk) as possible. Sometimes, baby cries when I leave the room, but within a few minutes, Daddy distracts him, and they have a special time to play and strengthen that Daddy-Baby bond.

3. Let Daddy Be the One To “Save the Day”

Our babies HATED the car seat when they were infants. After hearing them scream and cry for an entire drive, you know my momma heart wanted to jump out of the car and rescue them the second we parked. But, when Daddy was in the car with us, too, I refrained from jumping out of my seat and let Daddy be the one to save the day. He would get them out of their car seat and soothe them until all was right with the world again. To this day, Daddy is the designated boo-boo kisser in our house. If one of our kids gets hurt and Daddy is home, they do not want Mommy to comfort them. They scream, “I want Daddy!” until he comes to kiss the boo-boo . . . and again, all is right with the world.

4. Recognize and Celebrate the Things That Are Unique About Your Child’s Relationship With Dad

As your baby grows, there will be things that are unique about their Daddy-Baby bond. Sometimes, these things may not be super obvious, but keep your eye out for them, and you’ll see them. For my daughter, I’ve learned that she is always much more secure when Daddy is home. My son is calmer and listens better when Daddy is home. Our baby loves it when Daddy sings to her. When you find the special thing about your baby’s relationship with Daddy, look for opportunities to point it out to him. It will mean the world to him to know the unique ways that baby responds when he is around.

5. Remind Dad To Keep At It

Even if baby makes Daddy put in extra work to bond in these early months, the time and effort are very worth it. As baby gets bigger, their needs will change, and their bond with Daddy will grow. Our 5-year-old and 3-year-old cannot get enough of their dad now, and I know their Daddy-Baby bond will only continue to deepen as they get older.

I hope that by learning about what worked for our family, you can also help your husband nurture his Daddy-Baby bond. The relationship between a father and his babies is so special, and we know that this bond can get even stronger over time.

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  • Author

Lauren is a wife and momma to 3 little people. She spends her days finding creative ways to engage her kiddos in the world around them. She loves all things… Read more

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