By David Miller, M.D.; Scripps Clinic, Rancho Bernardo

How to bond with Baby

Top Tips for New Dads and Granddads

scripps_millerDads and granddads may feel nervous at first when their tiny newborn arrives, but they can forge a unique bond with baby from the start. Try these tips to build a strong connection with the newest member of your family.

Be a part of the daily routine.
Help with bathing, dressing, and changing diapers. Bring your hungry baby to mom for feedings and then take baby back for burping.

Touch is key.
During the first few weeks of life, the sensation of touch can bring you and your baby close. Place your baby against your chest so he can feel the rhythm of your heartbeat. Stroke her back or rock her gently in your arms.

Spend time alone with your baby.
If grandpa is retired, he can come by during the day to give mom a break. Dad can look forward to hanging out when he gets home from work, setting aside some time for him and baby. Little ones love to hear the sound of a deep voice, so talk away. It doesn’t matter what you say – talk about last night’s sport scores if you want or read from a favorite novel.

Have a staring contest.
Babies love to look at faces, so chances are she’ll probably outlast dad and grandpa.

Make silly faces.
Let your inner silliness come out and play. Scrunch up your face, stick out your tongue, raise your eyebrows. Don’t be surprised when your tiny infant tries to do the same thing. As your baby gets older, start playing peekaboo.

Soothe a fussy baby.
Don’t worry that you won’t be able to soothe your baby. Dads and granddads have an important role to play in nurturing and calming a fussy baby. Your larger hands can specialize in making a tight swaddle, and your knees can make a great place to gently vibrate or jiggle your little one. Singing, humming, and walking around are other good tactics.

Have a dance party.
It’s never too early to start teaching your son or granddaughter how to dance. Babies love music and they love to rock out. Sway around the room to special music. Introduce him to the sounds you love, whether that is classical, swing, folk, alternative, or pop.

Be part of the bedtime routine.
Sing harmony with mom, read Goodnight Moon, lower the lights, rock your baby before settling her in her crib. Whatever your bedtime ritual, take advantage of this time.

As long as you spend time with your baby, a bond will develop. Dads and granddads need to relax, be themselves, and enjoy this special time.

David Miller, M.D., is family medicine physician at Scripps Clinic, Rancho Bernardo. Dr. Miller provides comprehensive care for the entire family and speaks both Spanish and English. 

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