But what about the parent that didn't deliver a baby? How does bonding begin for the person that didn't get a jolt of hormones?
If you are looking for ways to get Oxycontin flowing and to start creating a bond with your baby, here are some things that may help:
- Feed that baby! Baby associates good feelings with eating. If possible be very close when breastfeeding, so your baby can see the faces of both parents. It may feel silly, cramped or logistically difficult at first. But imagine you are a family of spoons, nestled together. Mom and baby can recline in the arms of dad, and you all can enjoy the experience. If pumping or bottle feeding, give dad the chance to have one-on-one feeding time.
- Let dad have time before and after feeding sessions. His voice, smell, and method will become a part of baby's routine. If it's changing a diaper, gently burping, taking a walk around the house, or just holding baby close, bringing dad into these parts of the feeding process can help promote bonding.
- Let dad soothe your crying baby. As a mom, it can be hard to let your partner learn how to parent. The feeling to jump in when ever baby cries is strong! For a reason! Those hormones that offer you the fountains of feel-goods can also make it hard to hear your baby cry. But it is important for your partner to gain confidence in his ability to soothe, and it is important for baby to learn that this other person, this Dad, is someone that will offer comfort too. Again, Dad's voice, smell, and demeanor will become things your baby will learn, and begin to associate with comfort.
- Encourage dad to find things he enjoys that he can share with baby. It may not be the thing you would prefer he does with baby, but it may be just what they need. I still remember cringing when my husband would sit on the couch with our young baby girl to watch rugby. But now if she is having a hard time going to sleep, it isn't uncommon for her to ask him to put on a rugby game. They then snuggle up together and before long, they are BOTH asleep.
- Read a book together. Not only will your baby enjoy hearing your voice, but you will help stimulate parts of your baby's brain that will help them learn about language, the world around them, and also the topic of you selected book. Parents reading to their children has been shown to increase the likely hood that those children will be readers later, because the thing your child loves most, you, is connected with reading. It's a win-win!
How have you or your partner bonded with your child? Do you remember anything that struck you as odd at the time but in hindsight was perfect for them?
*NOTE: I use husband and dad in this post, but I realize and acknowledge there are many ways for a family to be formed and the term husband does not encompass every family situation.