Is your baby not bonding with his or her Dad?
Your baby needs a strong bond with both of their parents to help them feel secure. However, bonding doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and your baby’s dad may need some extra support to learn how to build a special connection with your little one. Now that you’ve noticed that your baby isn’t bonding with their dad, you can use these strategies to help them form a stronger relationship.
1. Dad Doesn’t Get a Chance
As a new mom, you have a natural instinct to jump up and run to your baby’s every little whimper or cry. While your baby should never wait long to be comforted, you could be standing in the way of their dad being able to form a bond. After all, it’s so easy for him to roll over and go back to sleep if you are already running toward the nursery armed with a bottle.
Solution: Stop jumping up!
It sounds so simple, but this solution may be one of the harder ones you have to do. Try hesitating for just a second the next time your baby cries to see if their dad will go and tend to their needs. If he hesitates to get up as well, then pretend to be busy with something such as cooking dinner so that he feels compelled to go. Making sure that your partner has the chance to help with basic care tasks is one of the most effective tricks to try when a baby isn’t bonding with their father.
2. Dad and Baby Haven’t Found Their Special Thing Yet
Dads don’t always know what to do with a baby, especially if they grew up in a household where male and female roles were clearly defined. When you think about it, you had years of playing with dolls and watching other moms play with their kids to prepare you for this moment. Consider how your baby’s father’s background influences his parenting style. It’s quite possible that he just doesn’t know what to do to make bonding time for both of them.
Solution: Give him some inspiration!
As frustrating as it is to see that your baby isn’t bonding with dad, it helps to remember that what comes easy for you may not be so simple for him. If he just kind of sits there holding the baby like he’s baffled, then suggest one of these activities to increase the chances of bonding.
- Try skin to skin time while watching a movie
- Use a baby carrier to snuggle while taking a walk
- Sing or play a special song at bedtime
- Give the baby a gentle massage after their bath
- Make silly faces to see if they’ll smile
3. Dad Is Afraid of Doing Something Wrong
Babies look so tiny and fragile to a big, strong dad. While you know that your baby won’t break, he may worry about dropping them or pulling their leg too hard when they do a clothing change. Dads might also fear making a bottle wrong or failing to put them to sleep the right way. Your baby’s dad may also be the type who won’t admit when he’s scared, which means that you need to offer some subtle instruction.
Solution: Offer assistance without criticism
You’ve got your routine down and know exactly how to hold your baby to soothe their cries, and you’ve likely figured out by now how to efficiently change diapers one-handed. However, your baby’s dad also needs to find his own way to do these things without feeling scared. Always ask if he wants to be shown how to do a baby care task, and refrain from criticizing his attempts since this could cause him to lose confidence. Since rituals for feedings and bedtimes are essential bonding times, helping your baby’s dad learn how to do these things makes it easier for them to establish a relationship.
4. Dad Is Dealing With Gender Disappointment
Everyone has dreams about how they expect parenthood to be, and your baby’s dad may have always wanted to raise a boy or a girl. Gender disappointment is a real issue for some dads, and it may cause your baby’s father to opt out of spending time together. Although most people work through their gender disappointment before the baby is born, it is possible that lingering feelings are the underlying cause of why your baby isn’t bonding with their dad.
Solution: Highlight your baby’s individuality
If your baby’s dad always dreamed of having a son or daughter, then they may feel like they are having to give up some of their goals for a perfect future. While you know that your daughter can still play catch outside with him or your son can appreciate his cuddles, he may just not see it yet. Find ways to speak about your baby in ways that highlight their individual personality rather than their gender so that you can stop the issue of your baby isn’t bonding with their dad. Making comments about their laugh or that precious smile helps your baby’s dad see them as a person who can do anything they want as they grow.
5. Dad Is Under Financial or Work Stress
Fatherhood comes with many responsibilities and making sure that your baby’s financial needs is a big one. It is possible that your baby isn’t bonding with their dad because he’s too stressed out to spend time together, or your baby may pick up on his tension when he does try to snuggle. Sadly, this can become a vicious cycle if your baby’s cries make him tense up more.
Solution: Help him find ways to relax
Naturally, you can’t take the stress of being financially responsible for a baby away, but you can help your little one’s dad learn how to relax so that he can stop the issues that occur when your baby isn’t bonding with one of their most important family members. If you are romantically involved with your baby’s dad, then offer him a massage or let him have a few minutes of downtime before he gets tasked with baby duties. Your baby’s dad may also need to go for a workout or practice meditation to get to a place where he is ready to help when your baby isn’t bonding with their dad.
6. Dad Just Needs More Time
Some of the best dads did not start out being instantly attached to their baby. Your baby isn’t bonding with their dad if he feels like there’s no point in talking to someone who cannot talk back yet, or if he just can’t connect with someone so small. When all else fails, it sometimes helps to know that your baby’s dad could still end up being the one who eventually jumps at the chance to be involved in their life. It just takes a little longer for some people to learn to accept that the baby isn’t bonding with their dad for now but can in the future.
Solution: Continue to provide gentle encouragement.
When your baby isn’t bonding with their dad and he doesn’t seem to want to change, you can do a few things to promote a stronger relationship in the future. Also, look for these signs that a baby loves you and point it out to your partner every time you see these signs of love.
For a dad who just doesn’t see the love in their child’s eyes, hearing it from their mom makes a big difference in their ability to envision a future where they are comfortable playing a father’s role.
When your baby isn’t bonding with their dad, you have tons of ways to help. With a little time, patience and gentle encouragement, you’ll be able to watch from the sidelines as your baby and their dad have the time of their lives.
Let your partner know that he is a good dad. Mention that you can see how your baby loves spending time with him.