The Mother’s Partner and the Breastfed Baby : Alternative Bonding Methods Beyond Feeding
By Wendy Wright- IBCLC Co-Founder and Lactation Consultant of the 16 Minute Club
Many new moms will hear the advice to allow their partner to bond with the baby through bottle feeding. While this advice is well-meaning, introducing a bottle too early can negatively affect milk supply and latching. Thankfully there are several other ways your partner can bond with the new baby without having to feed them.
Encourage Them to Participate in Birth
Bonding with the baby can start even before he enters the world. The labor process is a hard one for moms and babies, so the partner can really be a great asset here. Seeing your baby born into this world and hearing their first cries is an emotional one, whether you are the mother or father. Your partner will not be overflowing with as many hormones as you, but they can definitely experience the love at first sight feeling just by being there.
Allow Your Partner to Snuggle During Feeding Sessions
You already know that nursing your newborn will boost your oxytocin levels, but did you know that your partner can get some of the same oxytocin high just from snuggling mom and baby? Allow your partner to snuggle with you and to gently rub the baby’s head while feeding. Your partner can also sing and talk to the baby at this time. Family snuggle time is a wonderful memory to have, especially among the sleepless nights.
Skin to Skin Time
Anyone can experience an amazing bonding session with the baby during skin to skin time. Studies have also shown that when dad’s hold their baby skin to skin after a C-section delivery, the crying in the baby is reduced greatly. Skin time is also a wonderful way to help the baby regulate their body temperature, accelerate brain development, and even stimulate digestion and weight gain.
There are many baby carriers designed for newborn babies over eight pounds. These carriers not only free up your hands, but they really help promote bonding and closeness. Your partner can wear the baby to give you a much needed break, while also experiencing wonderful bonding with the baby. The baby may even sleep better in a carrier, since they will be comfortable and have their head rested near your partner’s heart.
Another great way to bond with the baby and benefit them is through baby massage. Baby massage can aid digestion, improve the immune system, and improve circulation in the baby. New moms usually find themselves sleepy after a nursing session, so this is the perfect opportunity for partners to step in. They can burp the baby and give the baby some gently massaging before the baby falls asleep.
Feeding a newborn is not the only way to experience bonding time. As a new mom, the best way to help your partner bond with your baby is to encourage them. Don’t be overly critical, instead offer gentle suggestions if the baby is not being held safely.
Photo Credit: Surlygirl
Wendy Wright is a lactation consultant for The 16 Minute Club– the one-and-only breastfeeding subscription box designed and curated by a lactation consultant. They are focused on helping new nursing mothers meet their breastfeeding goals, providing tons of relevant information based on baby’s developmental stage and offering a selection of age-appropriate tools and treats to get families through potential breastfeeding obstacles that can occur along the way.
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