By BIANCA CARTER
In honour of Father’s Day this past Sunday, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss dad bonding with baby. Surely, the men aren’t interested in reading about all of these women and mother conversations, but you may be surprised to know that some men actually feel a little left out during the whole pregnancy journey.
First of all, they have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant, feel pregnant or give birth – thank goodness!
I don’t think watching a man give birth would be anything close to graceful. I have had the pleasure over the past couple of years to watch the interesting and beautiful dynamic between a new father and his baby. Most of them aren’t really sure what to do, or say, but they still want to be involved.
Involving the daddy-to-be can and should start from the gestational period and continue all the way into delivery and beyond. Apart from requiring that he come to every doctor’s visit, you can encourage a personal relationship with him and your growing baby belly.
At about 16 weeks, the baby’s hearing is developed. Many studies and researchers have suggested that a baby cannot only hear, but that language absorption may actually start 10 weeks prior to delivery. Some people play music, talk and sing to their babies in utero. It may actually be possible for the baby to show signs of recognising their mother’s voice just after being born. By allowing the daddy to also connect, sing, read and talk to the baby while in utero sets into motion the father/child bond early on.
If the mother decides to breastfeed, some people believe that the father can’t connect to the baby during this time. That assumption comes from the belief that feeding equals bonding, which is not the case. You don’t have to feed the baby in order to show love and develop the same strong bond as the mother. Bathing, changing diapers, getting the baby dressed, holding and playing with the baby are all great ways to foster a close bond between the father and baby.
Allowing and empowering the father to do this not only shows your trust in him, but gives you the extra help, support and rest you need when you have just had a baby. It may even strengthen the bond between the mother and father as they engage in their first parenting efforts together. Being a parent is a beautiful thing. It’s even better when you can learn, parent and experience having a baby together.
Love & hugs!
• Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counsellor and founder of Bun in the Oven.
For more information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow BITO on Facebook at babybunintheoven, and check out the BITO Blog every Monday and Thursday at http://babybunintheoven.com.