As new parents, when the newborn comes home, you have essentially signed up to have a stranger as your new room mate; albeit, this room mate is different than any other you have had before (except maybe for during those really messy nights in college). As the birthing parent, you have been growing this little baby inside of you for the better part of a year, so you have been able to get to know your baby through all the kicks, jumps, and hiccups. As the non-birthing parent, you haven’t been able to feel all of these wonderful sensations in the same way that the other parent does. Once the baby comes home, the bond with the parent that carried can typically be solidified through breastfeeding. But how is the other parent supposed to build this bond? What happens in a surrogacy relationship, or an adoption relationship? Here are 5 amazing ways to build a bond with your new baby!
Skin To Skin
As soon as the baby is born, they are often placed directly onto the birthing parent’s chest for immediate skin to skin contact. This contact helps to comfort the baby, keep them warm, and to build that bond. However, skin to skin contact is absolutely not exclusive to the birthing parent and the baby. Strip off your shirt, get comfortable in a chair, and snuggle that new baby with a warm blanket wrapped around you both. A great option for the first night is to have the newborn sleep on the non-birthing parent’s chest – it’ll help to build a bond, and it will let the birthing person catch some zzz’s.
If you decide to introduce your baby to a bottle, having the non-birthing parent take on some feeding sessions is a great way to build a bond. Hold the baby nice and close to your chest, just as if you were breastfeeding, and look lovingly down at that cute little bundle. Although it’ll be a few months before the baby can see your face clearly and with any sort of detail, they will begin to recognize your scent, your energy, and your comfort pretty early on.
Make An Activity Your Own
Another way to build a bond with your baby is to do something special together, whether that involves watching a sports game on TV together, playing, bath time, tummy time, or just allowing baby to nap peacefully in your lap or on your shoulder. Having something predictable that you do together will help build a routine and inevitably that bond.
Soothing Their Tears
Being available to the baby when they are upset will help them to realize that you are safe, and that you will make them feel better. Whether the baby is upset about being hungry, a dirty diaper, teething, colic, or an injury, having both parents take turns comforting the baby will absolutely help to build a bond.
Be A Part of Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routine can go in many different directions, and at the beginning, no two children are going to go through it the same. It is a good idea to establish and follow the same wind-down bedtime routine every night (dimming the lights, playing with quiet toys, reading stories, bath time, etc.) so that the baby will begin to fall into that routine and will understand what is happening. Having both parents be a part of this routine is great because if one parent isn’t around for one bedtime, the baby will be familiar with the routine and will be comfortable with either parent taking the lead. Having a bedtime routine is absolutely bond-building for both parents, and it’s a great way to get the non-birthing parent involved.