When a new baby comes home, it can easily become overwhelming for new moms.
We are often the primary caregivers in a family.
Add in breastfeeding, and moms find it incredibly hard to find a moment for themselves.
On the flip side, it’s easy for dads to feel a bit left out as they watch mom do so much of the baby care.
If mom is breastfeeding, dads may feel even more shut out.
But it’s important for dads to bond with their infants, say experts, as this sets the stage for closer relations as the child grows.
Besides, it gives mom a break and may help dads discover their inner teddy bear.
Fun Activities for Dads and Babies
Here are some ideas for fun activities for dads and babies to bond (and to give mom a break).
And moms, take heed, you may need to help “plant” some of these ideas for dads, who may be at a loss what to do with such a little one.
Take a Walk
Load baby in the stroller or Baby Bjorn and take a walk in the park, neighborhood or wherever.
If you have a backpack or sling, you can take your baby on a walk or hike “off road.”
Experts point out the healthy benefits of getting babies out in nature, even at a very young age.
My son always loved the fresh air.
And to be honest, some of his best naps were during our walks.
Yes, this is not exactly the most fun thing, but it’s part of having a baby, and it’s surprisingly a good time to bond.
You can sing to your baby, talk to her and play fun games like bicycling her legs.
Babies love to move, even when they can’t move on their own yet.
Hold baby over your shoulder or on your hip, and move and dance around the room.
Put on music and/or sing.
This is also a good way for dad to burn some extra calories.
I used to do this all the time with when my boys were infants, and they were never as calm as when I did this.
In fact, Vman’s favorite song to “dance to” was Phish’s song Contact.
This fun game gets baby laughing almost every time.
Lie on your back and lay your baby on your stomach, baby’s stomach down.
(Of course, this is not a good game for brand new infants!)
Pick baby up and hold him up over your chest and face, making fun flying sounds.
Rotate baby with a gentle back-and-forth, up and down motion – don’t forget to make funny noises and faces at him!
It’s an incredibly sneaky way to get in tummy time and some fun.
When you hold your baby, pat his back and rear.
Babies like rhythmic patting, and you may find a secret dad activity of walking the halls that gets baby to sleep while mom catches some extra ZZZs.
Read to Baby
Yes, you can read to a tiny baby, and you may find that it establishes a pattern that you will love later.
Research shows that reading aloud to babies and children helps them get a head start in reading later in life.
And it provides some wonderful bonding time for dad and baby.
Need some storybook ideas? Check out these great lists: