How Can Dad Bond with a Bre...

Bonding with a newborn is an essential part of parenting, and it's not just for moms. Fathers also play a crucial role in building a strong relationship with their babies. However, dads of breastfed babies can sometimes feel left out, as they can't feed their little ones the way mothers can. But from my experience, there are plenty of ways for dads to bond with their breastfed babies.


Ways Dads Can Bond with A Breastfed Baby

The truth is bonding with a breastfed baby can be a challenge for dads, especially if they feel left out of the feeding process. However, there are many other ways to bond with a newborn even if they are breastfed. 

Here are some of my favorite ways for dads to bond with their breastfed babies. 

1. Bottle Feeding with Expressed Milk

Just because dads aren’t breastfeeding doesn’t mean they can’t be actively involved in feeding times. Moms can pump breastmilk and store it in a bottle for dads to feed the baby. This allows dads to experience the joy of feeding their child and create a special bond. It also can give mom a much-needed rest.

2. Burping the Baby After Feeding

Another way dads can participate in the feeding process is by burping the baby after feeding. By holding the baby upright against their chest or sit them on their lap and gently pat or rub their back you are actively engaged in close physical contact which helps with the bonding process.

3. Diaper Change

With feeding a baby comes diaper changes! Dads can use diaper changes as opportunities to bond with their breastfed babies. During diaper changes, dads can engage in playful interactions with their babies, such as making funny faces or singing songs. This can help create a positive association with diaper changes and make them a more enjoyable experience for both dad and baby.

4. Skin-to-Skin Time After Breastfeeding

After the baby completes breastfeeding, fathers have a valuable opportunity to foster a deeper connection through skin-to-skin contact

This practice involves holding the baby against their bare chest, providing a comforting and secure environment for the infant. Skin-to-skin time offers numerous benefits beyond mere physical warmth. 

It encourages the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," which promotes bonding and feelings of closeness for both parent and child. 

Moreover, this intimate contact allows fathers to become more attuned to their baby's cues and signals, such as subtle movements or changes in breathing patterns. 

It's a serene moment where fathers can marvel at the miracle of life and create lasting memories with their little one. 

Additionally, skin-to-skin time can be particularly beneficial for premature babies, as it helps regulate their body temperature and promotes weight gain. 

5. Soothing and Comforting the Baby

Babies can be fussy for all types of reasons other than just hunger. If mom is feeding on a schedule rather than on demand, dad can be the one to help comfort and sooth their baby. 

My husband loved to use a baby carrier for this, which also helped to free up his hands, especially when our baby had fallen asleep.

6. Participating in Nighttime Routines

Nighttime routines are an essential part of parenting, and dads play a crucial role in creating a comforting environment for their babies, even if they're not breastfeeding. 

While moms may take the lead during nighttime feedings, dads can actively participate in other aspects of the routine to support both their partner and their baby. 

Whether it's cuddling with the baby, singing a lullaby, or simply being there to offer a reassuring presence, dads have the power to make nighttime routines a bonding experience for the whole family. 

7. Reading or Singing During Breastfeeding

As mom breastfeeds, dad can participate in the nurturing process through reading stories or singing songs. This not only enhances the comforting atmosphere but also fosters a deeper bond between dad and baby. 

By immersing the baby in the soothing rhythm of storytelling or the melodic cadence of songs, dad creates a shared experience that enriches their connection. 

These moments of shared intimacy contribute to the development of a strong emotional bond between dad and baby, laying the foundation for a loving and supportive relationship as the child grows.

8. Attending Breastfeeding Support Sessions

Dads can show their support for breastfeeding by attending breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultations or classes with mom. 

This not only demonstrates solidarity but also enhances their understanding of breastfeeding and the bond it creates between parent and child.


Bonding Tips for Dads of Breastfed Babies

Whilst moms can hold the advantage of baby bonding with pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, it doesn’t mean dads can’t develop an intense and powerful bond with their baby.

Whilst there are many ways dads can form that bond, I think that there are also a few additional tips to remember:

1. It Takes Time

Don’t be discouraged if the bond doesn’t form straight away. It can take time for your baby to get to know you, after all you are only just getting to know each other.

2. Start Early

You don’t have to wait till your baby is born to start your bond. From around 18 weeks babies can hear within the womb, so let them get to know your voice and start forming that connection prior to birth.

3. Be Present

You need to be there to form a bond. So, engage in activities that allow you to spend quality time with your baby, such as reading books, singing songs, going for walks, or simply cuddling. The key is to be present and attentive to your baby's needs and cues.

4. Remember Your Bond Is Just as Special

You might not be the primary carer of your breastfed baby, but that doesn’t mean that your bond isn’t any less special. Your relationship with your baby is something that is special and unique to you, so be confident in your bond with your baby. 


Cherish it!

Let it grow into something beautiful that will exist between you and your child forever.

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