Reading to your baby is another way to bond. I used to read stories to my boys from a young age. They love it. It’s good practice for when they want bedtime stories to help them sleep. It also gets you to think about the quality of the material you are reading. Not all books are appropriate or of good quality.
This can also give you some quiet time with your baby and they love the black and white books as they help the babies vision develop. At birth babies are very near–sighted and can only focus if things are 25cm (10 inches) from their face.
Other practical ways you could bond and support are things like:
Making snack trays before going to work for your partner can really help. It makes you feel less ‘useless’ and can be a really nice gesture when Mum is too tired to make food for herself. This helps you feel you’re bonding at a distance as you are nurturing her and by default the baby and brings you together as a family unit.
Do not expect the home to be spotless as your partner would have been spending all day feeding your baby and keeping them safe and happy. You can have baby as they get bigger in a sling and hoover or dust. Babies love being in close proximity as they can hear the heartbeat and this takes them back to being in the womb.
“When I got home from work I would get one to one cuddles with baby whilst my partner escaped to the kitchen to make dinner. I’d offer to cook but she was happy and ready to have a break from the baby.” See what works for you and you may wish to hold baby and let your partner eat first. It’s amazing how babies wake up as soon as the food hits the table. It’s not uncommon for one parent to get indigestion and the other to have a cold dinner. This does improve over time and it is very good for the baby to watch meal times as this helps them later when the baby starts solid foods at six months.
Choosing clothes and dressing the baby can be lots of fun and really helps support mum and give you extra bonding time. Beware that you are not a mind reader and mum may ask you to change the outfit as she had something else in mind so a top tip is to ask her first.
“Lying on the floor and looking up at the same mobile or playmat toys next to your baby is a great way to share an experience and I would just lie there and chat to him. Having a cheeky afternoon nap together on the sofa is nice too.” Just be aware of the safe sleep regulations and that the bed may be far safer for newborns. As they get older, this changes. I quite often catch all three asleep.
Don’t under estimate talking to your baby.
“A running dialogue about what you are doing is a great way of helping you bond and developing the baby’s vocabulary subconsciously. You might feel like you are talking to yourself but you are being listened to” This can help them to feel safe in new surroundings and when in the car. Talking and singing comforts them.
Going for walks in parent facing buggy or sling is also brilliant at supporting the babies development and meeting their basic needs.
Last, but not least, playing with them and voice games, peek-a-boo and toys as your child develops. You can even make your own shakers and blow bubbles, stacking cups and ‘tummy time’. Get down at their level and have fun. They grow so fast.