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What you need to know

  • The best thing you can do for your kids is to make them feel safe and loved.   
  • There are loads of positive benefits for kids who have a good relationship with their dads. 
  • Dads who take a hands-on approach to getting to know their tamariki feel less stressed and more confident.  
  • Bonding with your baby is all about spending time together.  

What is bonding?

Bonding is about the emotional connection you have with your baby and the way you make them feel. These two things are vital to your baby’s development and can have a big impact on them as they grow up. 

Dad playing outside with his two kids.

What are the benefits of bonding with your kids?

Research shows that babies who develop a strong bond with their dad early on do better in almost every aspect of their lives. 

They do better at school, are able to learn and problem solve, feel more self-confident and secure within themselves, and are more able to form secure friendships and relationships. 

Hands-on dads also feel less stressed and more confident. Win-win. 

Ways to bond with your baby

While there are no tricks or magic formulas for bonding with your baby, there are a few things you can do to connect with them: 

  • Make time for hugs and cuddles - babies respond to touch from the moment they are born. Close contact makes them feel safe and secure  it’s also soothing for you too! Let your baby rest on your chest when lounging around at home. Try rocking or holding your baby against you, skin on skin.  
  • Make eye contact with them while you talk, sing and play - your baby gets meaningful communication from making eye contact with you and gazing at your face in close range. 
  • Keep them close as you go about your daily routine - keep your baby close by wearing a sling or font pack while taking a walk or doing light tasks around the house. 
  • Talk, sing and read with them - even though your baby can’t understand what you’re saying, hearing dad’s calm, reassuring voice makes them feel safe and secure. 
  • Enjoy playtime together - whether it’s dancing with your baby in your arms around the lounge to your favourite tune, playing peek-a-boo with them, or making silly faces, being playful with your baby is a great way to bond. 
  • Divide up baby-care responsibilities - you might not be able to breastfeed, but there are plenty of other ways you can care for your baby (changing nappies, settling or bathing your baby – and lots more)This helps your partner and gives you one-on-one time to enjoy connecting with your baby. And remember – you don’t have to do things exactly the same way as your partner. Find what works for you and your baby.  

Be kind to yourself  it’s a journey 

It’s important to remember there is no right way to bond with your baby. Like any other relationship, it is a matter of building trust and familiarity, and this happens naturally as you spend time connecting together