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Sarah Kulchar

6 Moments You Need To Let Dad Have With Baby

These bonding experiences aren’t just good for your partner and newborn—they give you a well-deserved break too. Here’s how to make them happen.

Do you melt when you see your partner interact with baby? I know I do. One of the most rejuvenating and touching things is to watch my husband spend time with our son. My husband is patient, playful and attentive (maybe I'm biased but I think he's pretty great). Sometimes I even sneak outside the doorway just to listen to them make noises at each other. It's precious!

As the mom in the picture, I feel a bit of a responsibility to help my husband bond well with our son, since he spends most of his time with me. Given this, I know their time together is precious and important for establishing a relationship.

Looking to do the same for your partner and baby? Here are a few ways I try to foster the dad-child bond at our house:

1. Get Dad Involved at Feeding Times

Since I'm breastfeeding our son, it's not often that my husband gets to do the actual feeding, especially since I use breastfeeding as one of my bonding times with our son after work (he drinks pumped milk at daycare). Does that mean dad can't be a part of feedings? Absolutely not! My husband does most of the burping and we usually end up in hysterics as spit up flies all over. Not only does our son get to be close to his dad, but it's now a little family ritual that we all do together.

2. Let Dad and Baby Cuddle Up

Evening times with a newborn can be a bit chaotic while trying to juggle feedings, diaper changes, laundry, dinner and even just saying hi to your significant other. One thing I've found helpful is to let Dad and baby have their cuddle time. Sometimes I'll just look at my husband and say, 'why don't you go lay on the couch with Asa?' This frees up my hands to get some much-needed housework done quickly and encourages them to have some quality bonding time together. Everyone wins!

3. Make Bath Time a Family Event

Have you come to love bath time with baby? Our son adores being in the warm water and getting a baby massage. We've found that we have more fun making bath time happen as a family (plus, it's easier). My husband is in charge of the body washing, and I wash his hair. Some of our best memories so far have involved bath time, and it's been great watching Dad develop his confidence while holding our slippery, squirmy son.

4. Have Dad Become Part of Your Morning Routine

Morning routines look different in every household (read more about our's here). Dad's job is to get baby ready for the day by changing his diaper and getting him dressed. Then, they hang out for a few minutes while I finish throwing myself together. Those early morning moments really mean a lot to my husband and are a great boost of baby time before heading to work. This might not work exactly the same way for your schedule, but be creative! I bet there are ways you can combine a needed routine with quality bonding.

5. Have Dad Read a Bedtime Story

It’s a great way for baby to get familiar with his voice and feel lulled by it. Also, let Dad choose the book; it’s your child’s very first introduction to his likes and tastes (at least when it comes to kiddie lit!). At the same time, it’s a wonderful way for your partner to wind down from the day, and simply gaze into your child’s eyes and watch how she responds to all he has to tell her.

6. Let Dad and Baby Develop Their Own Thing

As a mom (or woman?), I sometimes desire to have control over everything. Can you relate at all? But one of the best things for my husband and me is when I just let him do his own thing with baby. Whether that means some quality tummy time or reading a book, I'm learning that they find great things to do together and enjoy it much more when I'm hands-off.

Updated November 2017

PHOTO: Roberto Westbrook