Daddy/Baby BondingDavis Jackson
It is not unusual for a father to be concerned about being left out of the picture when Mom and Baby are bonded so well through breastfeeding. Actually, it's a very good sign that you care enough about your new child that you want to be a part of their life. Many "modern fathers" give the mother the "give me a call when he is potty-trained" message that will inevitably doom their future relationship with their child. It is the early years when the baby builds the greatest sense of trust with the parent, and if dad isn't there to nurture that trust then he is going to struggle for years to come.
But what can Dad do, anyway? As much as you are willing to take on. Of course it is entirely up to you if you want to get the hormone shots that would actually make those seemingly-useless nipples on your chest actually produce milk. I'm serious. It has been done. At first it would seem like a dream come true for a guy to have his own set of breasts to fondle whenever he chose. After the novelty wears off (a couple of hours would do for most men), the horror would set in that you would never be able to shower down at the gym ever again. Not like you shower that often anyway, let alone actually visit the gym on a regular basis.
Personally I have taken on a few roles in my son's life that have helped my bond with him. One of the first was that I was in charge of bathing him. Bathing was something that I had a lot of experience with, having taken dozens of baths and showers in my lifetime and religiously doing one or the other as often as once a week. Wet babies are very slippery little devils, and it is necessary to keep this in mind when washing them. During the first three months or so I would wash him in one of those countertop baby tubs, making sure to have the room cozy warm so that he would not get a cool breeze that would cause him to pee in my face. Trust me, you only forget this important lesson once.
Once he started to really get into splashing around in the water, we bought him a small tub seat and put him in the big-person tub. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR BATHING INFANT UNATTENDED. I would think that this would be a no-brainer, but every year someone attempts to sue the manufacturer of a bath seat because their child drown in the tub. Honestly I am surprised that no one has considered suing the local water company for not having a warning label on their products. "Inhalation of large quantities of this product may be harmful or fatal. Keep out of reach of children."
After about a month I took the big plunge: I got into the bath with my son and held him between my legs. After I got past the initial concern that he would find my exposed genitalia the most interesting of the items in the tub (never happened, thanks to plenty of bubbles), it quickly became the only way that he would take a bath. I didn't mind this, because I had the opportunity to sit down with him and watch him get comfortable with water and have fun with his tub toys. My partner didn't mind too, because I smelled better than I normally did. Just be careful not to go out to the hardware store smelling like baby bath.
My partner and I split the diaper duties (or should that be doodies?) as much as possible. The split was pretty fair, because we spent a lot of time making sure that we weren't the last person to change the last diaper before we went and did it ourselves. Of course if the other partner isn't around then you happily change your young one. What is most interesting is that even though you cannot remember what your partner said just three minutes ago, you know down to the minute when the last diaper was that you changed and could explain accurately to a police sketch artist what the contents were. Another example of selective memory at
One of the greatest things about a baby is that almost anything can be gut-wrenchingly funny. A great example of this is when my son was brought to near-tears of laughter from the sound of his Aunt Rene shuffling a deck of cards. This wasn't the courtesy laugh that your partner gives you when you tell her one of those jokes the guys at the office told you. This is the kind of laughter where he holds nothing back. He is going to really put his diaper to the test on this one, `cuz he has lost all control. You aren't likely going to help him any, because you are going to repeat whatever you were doing until either he passes out from a lack of oxygen or he finally tires of the whole ordeal. It is just like you to squeeze a joke for all that it is worth.
Remember that babies can get pretty freaked out sometimes too. Watch your child's reaction to what you are doing. If they show any signs of being upset by your actions, then go against the wishes of the little guy in red on your shoulder and listen to the fluffy white one on the other shoulder. You are going to be the only one that finds making the baby cry entertaining, and since it is likely that you are already walking a thin line for any number of things that you have done in the last 24 hours it is best that you didn't sink any deeper.
Your involvement with your baby also requires the assistance of your partner. She also needs to be willing to give up some of the responsibilities that you desire in order for your child to associate these activities with you. Once the two of you are able to get into a routine on these things you will quickly find that your baby needs you just as much as they need Mom.
Maybe you aren't willing to take hormone shots to be able to nurse your baby. As long as you take an active role in the caring of your child you will be just as valuable.
Who would want to nurse from your hairy nipples anyway?
About the Author: Davis Jackson and his wife Christine own "Great Northwest Cuddlers" - a family project providing information and distribution of the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. They live in Oregon with their son Tommy.Comments? Email us at email@example.com
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