It’s easy for dads to feel a bit left out as they watch Mom do so much of the baby care. If Mom is breastfeeding, dads may feel even more shut out. But it’s important for dads to bond with their infants, say experts, as this sets the stage for closer relations as the child grows. Besides, it gives Mom a break and may help dads discover their inner teddy bear.
Here are some ideas for fun bonding activities for dads and babies.
This fun game gets baby laughing almost every time. Lie on your back and lay your baby on your stomach, baby’s stomach down. Pick baby up and hold him up over your chest and face, making fun flying sounds. Rotate baby with a gentle back-and-forth, up and down motion – don’t forget to make funny noises and faces at him!
Yes, this is not exactly the most fun thing, but it’s part of having a baby, and it’s surprisingly a good time to bond. You can sing to your baby, talk to her, and play fun games like bicycling her legs.
Babies love to move, even when they can’t move on their own yet. Hold baby over your shoulder or on your hip, and move and dance around the room. Put on music and/or sing. This is also a good way for dad to burn some extra calories!
When you hold your baby, pat his back and rear. Babies like rhythmic patting, and you may find a secret dad activity that gets baby to sleep.
Take a Walk
Load baby in the stroller and take a walk in the park, neighborhood, or wherever. If you have a backpack or sling, you can take your baby on a walk or hike “off road.” Experts point out the healthy benefits of getting babies out in nature, even at a very young age.
Read to Baby
Yes, you can read to a tiny baby, and you may find that it establishes a pattern that you will love later. Research shows that reading aloud to babies and children helps them get a head start in reading later in life. And it provides some wonderful bonding time for dad and baby.
While we’re on the topic of things to do with your baby, it’s worth mentioning some things not to do. Sources agree that it’s just not safe to toss babies up in the air and catch them. Don’t run with baby or carry her while you’re riding a machine like a riding mower or ATV. Use your judgment, and don’t do anything that could cause harm to baby.