There are lots of things dads can do to help their partner. From birth preparation to understanding what mum is going through and supporting her as necessary.
Planning for the birth is a vital step that will help you both prepare for the journey ahead and begin the bonding process. Dads should take the time understand their baby’s needs before birth so they’re able to support mum and play just as big a role in the nurturing and upbringing of their baby from day one.
I’d recommend dads the basics from the moment they’re born. Holding your baby, getting them in to a good routine, putting them to sleeping safely and achieving the right body temperature is crucial and trickier than it may seem! If dads can get involved and correctly master such activities it should make for a calm, safe and happy environment for all. I’m a Brand Ambassador for The Gro Company and I can truly say they have one of the best offerings for new-born babies to help with all of the above. Each product is carefully designed to safely look after your baby whether it’s their Groswaddle, Grobag or Gro-egg. All of their products meet the BSI standard, (surprisingly not all baby products do) and their awarding winning Grobags in particular are recommended by the FSID, the cot death charity. It’s worthwhile checking The Gro Company Facebook page for more advice and feel free to ask them questions, they love to hear from dad’s!
Another important thing I’d recommend is for the dad to establish a bond with their unborn child early on. In my experience, dads tend to be up to 9 months behind mums on an emotional level, not fully bonding with their baby and seeing themselves as a father, until the birth.
Antenatal Bonding is making a connection with your baby before they are born. For dads, antenatal bonding is not a natural process; it’s a conscious decision.
Why does this matter?
Parents can positively affect their baby’s development from the moment they are conceived so it’s important to be prepared.
Through aids such as music and talking, you will already be able to develop your babies learning skills in a positive way. By creating a relaxed, calm environment, you will be supporting your baby’s emotional development from day one.
Babies’ ears are functional in the uterus at 16 weeks and at 24 weeks they can hear sounds from outside; this means for most of the pregnancy your baby can hear your voice. This will pay dividends for you when baby arrives, as their bond with you and your voice will be calming for them.
Antenatal bonding is also important for YOU and your confidence. You will be more at ease with your new-born and you will be more comfortable when he/she arrives. The baby will also sense this inner-confidence and feel more secure and safe with you, which again, will help keep them feeling calm.
Tips for dads on antenatal bonding:
There are some very simple things you can do… you don’t need to do them all, just choose to do those you feel comfortable with, but make the decision to do something!
1) If you have scan pictures keep them on show, look at them often and start to visualise your baby. As men, we find it hard to attach to things we can’t see, hear or touch. This will help you start to think of your baby as a little person and start the bonding process.
2) Each time you greet or part from mum, talk to your baby as well. Say Hello to your baby, maybe even give the bump a gentle rub or pat at the same time.
3) Give baby a name – this will make them more of a real person. It doesn’t have to be the name they will have when born, it can just be a pet name.
4) Spend time together as a family. Talk to baby, if you comfortable sing to your baby or maybe recite a rhyme or read a short story. Ideally pick one thing, and read or sing it each time. Your unborn baby will start to recognise and attach to that song or story. It will connect it to a time of feeling loved and content, and once born, singing this song or reading the same story is a great calming method, especially at bedtime.
5) At around 20 – 24 weeks you will be able to feel your baby move or kick. This is a great opportunity to become physically connected and bonded to baby. Take time to feel their movements, as the pregnancy progresses, you will be able to visualise their growth as you feel the movements become stronger.
6) Start a blog or write letters to baby. Talk about the preparations you are making for their arrival, about the scans or appointments which you go to. How you are both feeling. This will all help reinforce the fact your baby is another person in the family already.
7) Play music to baby, pick songs that mean something to you or pick relaxing pieces. Again, your unborn baby will start to recognise the music if you play it regularly during pregnancy. Once baby is born, when it hears the music it will connect it to a time of feeling loved and content – another great calming method!
8) Preparing for the new arrival is a necessary step. Think ahead and share the role of research and preparation. Between you and your partner you can learn how to care for your baby before it’s born. Again, I’d recommend the Gro Company Facebook page where you can gain access to free safe sleep guides and advice from our expects as well as other parents.
Doing all or some of these things will have a huge benefit – for all of you as a family now, in those all important first days and crucially for the rest of your baby’s life.
It is worth the effort, so ask yourself, what are you going to do today to bond with your baby?
You can find DaddyNatal at http://www.daddynatal.co.uk/
I have not been paid to post this guest post.