Dads are becoming more involved in their children’s lives. If you happen to have a husband who isn’t that involved, but you’d like him to be, think of clever and interesting ways to get him more active in baby’s life. Moms usually get the most credit, but some people are starting to give new dad gifts as well when the baby is born! And of course, he'll be more than excited with he receives his first batch of Father's Day cookies as well! But what about actual bonding with the baby?
It will depend on the type of man you married. Some men love to be involved from the first minute you relay that you are pregnant. Others want to wait until the baby is actually born before they feel like it’s a real person. After all, a woman can feel the baby kicking and moving. A man is on the outside wondering what’s going on. So, don’t pressure your husband if he’s not as immediately as excited as you are. It may take until the delivery for your husband to realize that there’s a real person involved.
If dad seems reluctant to hold the baby, don’t fear. It doesn’t mean he’ll never bond with the baby or that they’ll never be close. All it means is that he’s not the type to rush in and start handling a delicate new baby. Many men fear doing the wrong thing or hurting the baby by accident. A man may feel clumsy and insecure with such a tiny baby in his care. Don’t blame him; just take a little time to gently advise him on how babies work.
Involve your husband from the very beginning. Take a birthing class together and be sure that he’s right there in the delivery room with you. Give him opportunities to do more and more tasks that involve baby’s care. Let him help with baths and get baby dressed. If he doesn’t feel ready, don’t push him. It can be daunting to hold such a tiny person and not know what to do next.
After a while, start leaving your husband to take care of the baby for a few minutes at a time. Don’t make an announcement that he’s going to be alone, but just go run off for a shower or clean up your room or do some laundry. Make sure he knows he’s got the baby for a few minutes and then take a little break. As he does more and more for and with the baby, he will want to be more involved naturally.
Have a sense of humor about dad’s abilities. He’s probably never seen a onesie before and has no idea which side is the front of a diaper. Help him get acclimated and then let him do it his own way. As long as baby is not being hurt, there’s no harm in a diaper that’s put on slightly crooked or socks that don’t go with an outfit. Let go of perfection and accept help. Praise him for helping and tell him he did a good job. The more he bonds with baby, the more everyone will benefit. You will have more time and baby will get to know his daddy.
Give it time. No one is born knowing how to care for a baby. In time, he will be more and more involved and feel like he has more confidence in caring for baby. And pretty soon you’ll have to pry baby away from him just to put her down for a nap.