After your husband cheered you on in the delivery room and counted down every last hour of your pregnancy in anticipation, you’d think he’d be jumping for joy every time he could spend time with the new baby. It is not at all uncommon for you, as a new mom, to feel as though your husband is a little distant from the little one. While you suddenly feel as though your entire world has shifted to revolve around baby, your husband might seem as though he is preoccupied. It’s important to remember that your husband is just as ecstatic as you are, but he needs time to build that unbreakable bond. Since you’ve been physically attached to your baby for nine months already, you’ll feel as though he or she is practically still attached by the umbilical cord. You husband has a bit of learning to do.

Studies show that new fathers don’t always realize how important the bonding process is. They sometimes assume that the baby will pop out and they’ll immediately know how to handle it, literally and figuratively. It’s extremely important that you give your husband time to bond with baby alone. He will be shy at first. Many grown men have never even held a baby, so he will feel awkward. What’s more, he won’t want to upset you by doing something wrong. The key is to let him try it. Though you might worry about how he’ll do, understand that he is just as concerned about baby’s health and well-being.

Research specifically shows that letting the new father feed baby one-on-one is an excellent way to start that bond. If your baby is breastfeeding, pump a few bottles in advance so that your husband can take over when baby is crying and you are resting. He might even start to enjoy the late-night feedings when all is quiet in the house, which will also give you a little more shut-eye.

Especially when you’re breastfeeding, your husband might begin to feel like a third wheel as far as bonding goes. Invest in a breast pump and hand off a few bottles to him. As he gets in the habit of feeding and staring into baby’s eyes, you’ll soon see that he becomes more comfortable in every sense. Many women say that when they have a second baby, their husbands jump right into the role of dad.

Source: Alexis Avery: Expectant Fathers’ and Mothers’ Perceptions of Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding. Journal of Human Lactation Volume 27 Issue 2 pp. 147-154 May 2011

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