6 Ways Dads-to-be Can Bond Before Birth 👨🤰💙
Hello Beautiful People 😍
5 minute read.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), when parents bond with their babies while they’re still in the womb, the benefits are seen well into toddlerhood. But for dads, bonding is often more of a challenge than it is for moms.
“Dads absolutely feel less connected to the baby because unlike the mom, we don’t feel baby growing and moving inside us,” explains Dr. Jay Warren, host of the podcast Healthy Births, Happy Babies. “We don’t experience our bodies changing day-to-day throughout the pregnancy, which reminds us that we are parents to a new life coming forth.”
Don’t worry, though. By working a few simple practices into the family schedule, you can help a dad-to-be experience the joys of pregnancy right along with you while building a healthier, happier environment for your baby.
Let’s get started:
1. Say Hello & Goodbye
By early in the second trimester, all five of a baby’s senses are engaged, and actively soaking up the world, Warren explains. Basically, you’ve got a little person in there.
“Say hello and goodbye to the baby in mommy’s belly just like you do to your wife, because baby is conscious and listening, and you want to acknowledge their presence just like you would if they were outside the womb,” says Warren.
Next to mom’s, dad’s voice is the second-most recognizable to newborns, says Warren. So it only makes sense to help them associate your tone with someone caring, loving, and kind.
2. Read A Bedtime Story
Feeling dad’s love and protection is nurturing for both mom and baby, and nighttime represents a wonderful opportunity to bring the family closer together. For a fun prenatal bonding experience, Warren recommends picking up Dr. Seuss’s Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go!: A book to be read in-utero.
“Your baby is conscious in the womb and they are having an experience of the world right now, through you. They are listening to you. They are learning from you. So consider during your pregnancy what you are saying to them and what you are teaching them,” says Warren.
3. Play “Follow The Leader”
Okay, so maybe they can’t exactly throw a ball around, but there is one game you can play with your baby while they’re still in the womb. Warren calls it “Follow The Leader,” and here’s how it works: Next time baby is moving around, have dad pat the spot they kick, like a kind of answering knock. Keep that up for a while, and then have dad pat your belly in a different spot, and see if baby knocks back. It’s a game that lets them know dad is there, and eager to communicate.
4. Celebrate Father’s Day
When dads-to-be get a Father’s Day gift from their baby, they get so excited! They’re beyond happy to get a jump-start on their collection of adorable kid presents. Ladies, if you’re pregnant in September, be sure to make Father’s Day a special event.
5. Go To Ultrasound Appointments
According to a 2007 study collected in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, mother’s attachment to their infants increases dramatically after an ultrasound. And guess what? Ultrasounds are great for dads too!
Seeing that precious image on the monitor can help fathers understand this pregnancy is really happening, and encourage them to imagine their new life as part of a family, according to an article in The Men’s Studies Press.
Viewing the ultrasound also prompted the men to think deeply on their roles as fathers, according to the study published in the online journal Fatherhood.
For example, one expectant father told the researchers: “Now that we know that it’s a girl, you know, now I’m thinking about… walking her down the aisle someday, you know, [I’m] thinking that far ahead… which is crazy, but I mean, it’s like my brain went from bringing her into the world and taking care of her and making sure she is taken care of… to her future and everything.”
Because so much previous research shows that mothers and babies benefit when fathers are positively involved and supportive during pregnancy, they should feel welcome at an event that is one of their first interactions with the mother and baby. Dads are most certainly welcome here at Beautiful Beginnings!
6. Keep Ultrasound Pictures
To help dad feel connected to his baby sooner, he should carry ultrasound pictures of his baby in his wallet and show off photos of his developing baby to friends, family members and co-workers. This activity will help dad establish pride in fatherhood early on.
Dad can also pin ultrasound pictures to the fridge door or set it as your phone background as a constant reminder that your partner’s bump is home to your little baby.
More Resources for Dads-to-be: