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Getting to Know Your Baby

Information to help dads get to know your babyFeeling like your're standing on the outside looking in?

We are used to the idea that mothers bond easily with babies. But what about the father and baby bond? Some fathers report that they feel unsure or unable to connect and bond with their newborn. They wonder how and when they can get close to their child. How can fathers form a close relationship?

Dads may be envious of breast feeding. for example, which is often associated with bonding between the mother and her baby. You might feel excluded from this process. You might wonder how father-baby bonding happens and does it matter anyway?

The answer is yes, yes, yes! It does matter and it does happen, and in some ways it's unique between fathers and their babies. In fact, it's incredibly important for your child's development. Thankfully, bonding happens through day to day interactions with your child, during moments of closeness, interest, care, love, smiles, laughs, cries and play. Bonding occurs during feeding, bathing, nappy changing, cuddling, settling and playing - to name just a few opportunities. The more time you can spend involved in these activities, the better chance of building a strong and lasting positive social and emotional connection with your child.

Bathing

Bathing your baby can be a wonderful opportunity to bond with your baby. There is a closeness and a comfort in this. Most babies love a nice bath. Some fathers bath with their baby or hold them in the shower. Bathing in this way gives the baby a chance to enjoy skin-on-skin, smell, vision and touch with Dad that he or she gets with Mum during breast feeding.

Breastfeeding

Where possible, breast feeding is recommended for all babies and is a perfect blend of nutrients for development and a strengthened immune system. Research shows that mothers are more likely to breast feed when their partner is supportive. You can get involved in this process. Ask your partner how you can help. Sit with her and baby when feeding happens. Talk gently and softly with her and the baby at this time. If bottle feeding happens, you can do this. Keep your baby close, maintain good eye-contact, warmth and comfort will enhance the experience for your baby.

Important: If you, your partner and baby are having difficulties with breastfeeding you can get support from:

  1. Your Maternity Hospital.
  2. Your Local Child Health Nurse - 1800 022 222 or www.health.wa.gov.au/services/category.cfm?
  3. The Australian Breastfeeding Association - www.breastfeeding.asn.au
  4. Ngala Helpline (in WA) - (08) 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 (country callers).

Changing Nappies:

This can be a really great experience between you and your baby. Yes, really! You're physically close to your baby, lots of touching and great eye-contact, vocalisations, your baby is getting clean and cared for, he or she gets to kick around a bit without the constraints of nappies and other clothes, and at the end of it you get a nice clean baby to cuddle and play with. Everyone's a winner! One of the all time classic bonding moments between a father and a baby! 

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    6 - 12 months. Is your baby having difficulty around sleep? Ngala provides a one-off workshop to help parents understand more about their baby's sleep. Information will be provided on sleep and settling strategies.


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