As a dad, other than bottle-feeding, how can I feel close to my baby?

Some dads wonder how they can relate to their newborn if they are not giving regular bottles. The good news is that there are lots of ways other than feeding to get close to a small baby.

If you haven't spent much time with babies before, first know that they don't break. Babies love to be touched. Pick up and gently hold your baby. Here are some other things your baby will enjoy and will help the two of you become closer:

  • Give your baby a bath. This can be a fun time for both of you.
  • Change your baby's diaper. This gets easy with practice. And when your baby is fully breastfed, diapers don't smell bad.
  • Bring your baby to your partner for feedings. Yes, even during the night!
  • Spend time with your baby. Put baby on your bare chest. Babies love to feel your skin against theirs.
  • Cuddle and walk. This can help during fussy times. Movement calms babies.
  • Talk and sing to your baby. This is how babies learn to talk.
  • Hold your baby. This will help give your partner time to take a shower or eat her meal.
  • Give your baby a massage. This soothes baby and feels good to you, too.
  • Play with your baby. Moms and dads play in their own ways. This is how babies learn, and it is fun for both of you.  

Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding Products
Coauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers