This post is sponsored by Aquaphor Baby. Of course, all opinions are mine.
Babies love their mamas.
It’s just the truth. They grew inside of us (well, biological mamas, anyway) for almost a year. They snuggle with us most of the day. We are the source of their favorite food ever – Mama Milk.
Mamas are kind of a big deal.
So where does that leave dads? Sometimes dads (especially new dads) can feel like it’s hard to connect with their babies. I know that when my first child was born, my husband was a little awkward about the whole thing at first.
But after a little while, he was a total pro. He jumped in wherever he could, and now after 3 kids? He’s a pro at bonding and connecting with his babies.
(And no, it doesn’t have to include pumping and giving your partner a bottle to feed to the baby.)
There are tons of ways my husband connects with our baby, but here are a few to get you started.
5 Ways for Dads to Bond and Connect With Babies
Bond over bath time.
Bath time doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. It can simply be a tub full of water and a washcloth.
But with dad there, bath time is wonderful for babies!
Add some bubbles, a few cups for pouring and playing, and a simple and gentle shampoo like this Baby Wash & Shampoo from Aquaphor (just one product for hair and body). It cleans without drying out baby’s skin, and it is infused with chamomile and B5 – great for sensitive skin.
If dad doesn’t know what to talk to the baby about, just remind him of a few nursery rhymes or easy kids’ songs. A little bit of “itsy bitsy spider” goes a long way during tub time. And there’s always bubbly mohawks and other silly bath time hair styles to entertain the guy.
And when the bath is over, what dad doesn’t LOVE cuddling his clean, fresh-smelling baby?
Daddy Diaper Duty
Ever since my kids were born, my husband has jumped into diaper duty whenever he’s home. He changes probably 90% of the diapers when he’s home, and it’s a way to connect with the baby.
A little bit of chatting, kissing baby toes, blowing raspberries on baby’s belly, and maybe some more nursery rhymes means dad and baby will be that much more connected with each other.
Your baby already understands that he feels SO much more comfortable after a diaper change – with a fresh and clean bottom, and maybe some Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment (my go-to for any kind of rash or irritation on baby’s skin) – but with dad there to play a bit and make things fun, your baby will have all kinds of good feelings about his dad, too.
Also? This Aquaphor stuff is AMAZING on those drool-rashes during hard teething periods too. We bought our first tube of it when Henry had a huge bumpy rash on his chest from all of the drool, and I swear it was better within hours. It protected his irritated skin so that the natural healing process could occur without interruption. Then, we kept using it on his chest at every diaper change to keep the rash from coming back.
We also have a big tub of Aquaphor 3-in-1 cream which works to protect baby’s skin and treat diaper rash too. Henry’s dad even used it on a scrape Henry got on his cheek (it’s pretty all-purpose) and it was nearly gone the next morning!
Whether he’s reading books or just telling stories about his day at work, babies are captivated by the sound of their Daddy’s voice. My husband likes to talk about his flying adventures (he’s a pilot) to our babies – they’re a captive audience and they react so well! He has also read flying magazines and children’s books about planes to our babies. When they get a bit older, he’ll read them whatever they want, but for my husband? Aviation is the topic of most story times!
Time for bed.
For a while, it might seem like your baby nurses to sleep almost every time. But if you already know he has a full belly, and he’s still awake, you can pass him off to Dad for bedtime. My husband has perfected the “Daddy walk” which puts infants to sleep as if it were hypnosis. It’s kind of like the “mom sway.”
But Dad doing the whole routine, from changing baby into pajamas or zipping him into a sleep sack, cuddling, and laying baby into bed gives both of them tons of happy feelings about each other. Snuggles and connection galore!
My husband also likes to take the kids out for adventures without me, even when they’re babies. Sometimes we do have family trips, of course, but it’s fun for him to connect with the kids without me, too. From the time the kids are big enough for the jogging stroller, he likes to take them for runs to get some sunshine and fresh air.
Other times, he’ll load them into the car to drive to a picnic spot somewhere in nature, and just enjoy being away from the house a bit.
And yes, even trips to the grocery store count. He likes to wear our babies in a soft structured carrier when they’re small, so lots of snuggling happens during these adventures (and sometimes even an impromptu nap-on-Dad situation).