Father infant bonding is being ignored in our country but I did not realize it until one day when my husband, who is no more a new Dad, said this to me.
We were looking at our toddler with the utmost affection as he was leaping into his dream world when the husband said: “I could now feel more connected to him than when he was born”.
Those words made me Happy and Sad at the same time. Being Happy was obvious as I could sense the growing bond between a new dad and Baby. Being a Mother, I want their relationship to nurture and want our child to feel connected with his Father as much he is with me.
I wondered why this did not come earlier. Why it took 18 months for him to feel this? What was missing in building father infant bonding?
So many questions clouded my mind leaving it muddled. I thought of asking my Husband instead of probing my mind for the perfect answer. His reply amazed me and left me more puzzled when he said that earlier he (our kid) was not able to communicate much and this might be the reason for the detachment. I asked myself- Why did not I feel the same because he was not talking to me either.
Related read: Life after Kids
How did I feel connected? I kept on finding answers for the missing element between my child and his father.
The answer my mind gave was distance. My husband’s work made him stay far from us during my pregnancy. He was away for most of the days even after the baby was born.
I reassured myself when I read this about father infant bonding:
“A recent study has shown that neurogenesis took place in male mice in the days following the birth of their pups. But the extra boost of brain cells only occurred if the father mouse stayed in the nest. When the researchers separated the father from his pups by placing a mesh screen between them in the cage, no additional brain cells appeared.
The father had to be physically present in the nest in the early postnatal days to get another dose of neurons. The physical contact he had with his pups in the nest coupled with the smells of his young are what made the neurons grow. Same goes for humans.”
In the first few days after birth, changes occur in the brains of both the dad and the baby, depending on whether the father is around or not. This might be the reason when a few days after our baby’s birth, my husband said: “I will work harder now.” It brought me tears of happiness.
Now when he is with us, I make sure to fill the gap which was created and made him feel that something was missing. Not only I but he is also trying to build their bonding.
Related read: A Letter from a new Father to his Wife
My Initiatives to build Daddy Baby bond
1. I ask my husband to wake him up in the morning and suggest using a little softer voice and tone.
Sometimes, I ask him to soothe him to sleep.
2. I prepare the food and ask my husband to feed him. He is doing wonders. I don’t need to ask him to check the feeding interval as he himself checks if his mouth is empty before feeding the next.
My Husband’s Efforts
1. My husband brings him back home from day-care. While he is still downstairs, he allows him to run, play, shout and fall and lets him enjoy under his observance.
2. He changes his shorts when he wets them.
3. He washes and sterilizes the milk bottles before the next feeding time.
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