Disclaimer: This is a post that I wrote for a website that is now defunct. But all credits will still go to fatherhooded.com owner Todd Weitzman
Bonding With Your Newborn
“You will lose sleep. Lots of sleep.” Those are always the first words I say to a new father when he asks me about taking care of his newborn baby. The months leading up to the baby being born will be full of shopping, preparing the baby’s room, and your spouse needing LOTS of rest. What will you do once the baby is here? Whether giving natural birth delivery or via C-section, your spouse will still need to get her energy and strength back. How can we help her? By building a bond with your new baby! How can you do this? It’s actually quite simple and will make the years as a dad that much more enjoyable.
Waking up with the baby at night shouldn’t be viewed as a chore. It’s an opportunity! You will quickly realize that your baby only sleep 2-3 hours at a time for the first few months. When she wakes up you want to change their diaper, put on a sleeper if they need it, and feed them. If you work full time, mom is home taking care of the baby in the day time so cut her some slack and take care of the baby at night. Generally at such a young age the whole process should take between 30-45 minutes. During this time talking to her about how cute she is, and to quit the fussing in a funny way will make the late night routine enjoyable. You do not want to wake up angry about having to take care of her because she can sense your anger. Always jump up with a smile. After your baby is fed, changed and burped what do you do next to bond with her?
I always like to rock my daughter back to sleep. Throwing something on the TV will keep me up for about 10-15 minutes so she can get into a deep sleep. She will also become more accustomed to you during these moments, which will make it easier to calm her down when she is fussy. In the event that you must wake your wife up, try to keep it to simple requests. Don’t make the rookie mistake I did on Monday. I asked my wife for help with a diaper and she replied “You act like you’ve never changed a diaper before!!!” She helped me of course but it was one of those things I could have done myself without bugging her in the middle of the night. Remember that your time with the baby is valuable and practicing taking care of her when she is a newborn will build a lifetime bond between the two of you. Enjoy every moment and keep a smile on your face!!