Fatherhood – this word implies a journey of growth and achievement. As a fellow father on this awesome journey, I can confirm the truth of this statement. Despite years of pediatric training, I had many “what next?” moments with our tiny bundle of joy. At the risk of dating myself, I have compiled a top ten countdown list of ways for daddies to bond with their newborns.
10. Diapers, Diapers and more Diapers
There are literally thousands of diaper changes in one year of life. Being on the spot with a fresh diaper can make your little one think “Thank you so much! Can you believe I was sitting in that?” With minimal practice, you will be changing diapers with pit crew speeds and your partner will think you are the man.
9. Pimp that Crib
For all of us do it yourself daddies, infancy provides awesome opportunities to show off our skills of throwing instruction manuals in the trash. Some assembly is required on cribs, high chairs, baby monitors and all manner of toys. It is a great feeling when you see your baby sleeping soundly in the crib that you built.
8. Get in the Rotation
Choose a few pieces of your baby’s routine and own them. For me, it has been helping with our nightly bath followed up by story time before bed. With younger infants, you can even sneak in some ESPN app or sports page reading. The sitting on daddy’s lap and hearing your voice is the most important part when they are less than 6 months old. Be prepared for that little tyke to tear the sports page to shreds and to chuck your smart phone like the toy it is when she is ready to move on to proper baby books.
7. Baby Bench Press
You have an awesome new workout program! P Baby X. The weight will slowly increase as your strength improves. Your “weight” will tell you if your technique is proper if it laughs and squeals when you exercise. Just be careful to stick to snuggling exercises when your baby is very young.
6. Chore Buddy
Infant carriers are an awesome invention. The most mundane tasks can be a blast for your baby. Our little lady was very keen to jump in the carrier and help daddy vacuum.
5. Monopoly Time
It is never too early to start thinking about your baby’s college education. Financial nesting will let you sleep a little better at night knowing that you have a plan. There are several options for 529 tax-free college savings plans available in every state. Squirreling away money now will add up by the time you are ready to start writing tuition checks.
4. Dance Party!
This is your chance to put on some of your favorite music and show your little one how to bust a move. Music and rhythm have been shown to help with developing speech.
3. Pack like a Boy Scout
When your partner and baby are finally ready to leave the house there is no better feeling than already having the bags packed and in the car. Your infant will be so impressed by your ability to squeeze every last item into that trunk. Then, when you get to your destination and your partner says “I really wish we had that Swedish mucous suction device”, you reply, “Oh, this Swedish booger sucker?”
2. Date Night
When mommy gets a chance to hit the town with her gal pals, take the chance to have daddy baby date night. It is a real confidence booster and a bonding opportunity to know that you can handle this little bundle all by yourself for a few hours. Your main squeeze will really appreciate her time and she will be oh so impressed with your mad baby skills.
1. Eye Contact
Have no shame! Anything you can do to get those baby blues headed in your direction should be attempted. Having your baby lock eyes with you and laugh is truly priceless. Learning how to make your baby laugh and wonder “What is he doing?” is the best tool for meltdown avoidance, downtime passage and daddy baby bonding.
Dr. Patrick Gross is a pediatric physician OhioHealth Pediatric Physicians in Powell, Ohio.