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Tips to Help Dad Bond with Baby

You've had three trimesters to bond with your baby. Her dad is nine months behind, and since he lacks the ability to nurse, his bond with her may take more nurturing than yours. Encourage that bond by suggesting ways for your partner to make himself invaluable in your baby's eyes, then praising him for how well he cares for his baby.

Name Dad's Duties

Make sure your partner gets plenty of face time and contact with the baby by dividing up child care duties. Put him in charge of burping the baby after daytime feedings, or let him handle bath time. If you're lucky, he'll turn out to be a pro at diapering and the changing table can become his turf. Nighttime is an ideal time for dads and babies to bond, says James di Properzio, co-author of "The Baby Bonding Book for Dads." Alternate nighttime baby duty so you're equally sleep deprived.

Make Mealtime a Group Effort

He can't produce milk, but your partner can produce everything you need to breastfeed comfortably. Emphasize the dad's role in keeping baby fed and happy by involving him in mealtime. He can bring you pillows and help adjust the baby's position, suggests HealthyChildren.org, or sit behind or next to you with one hand on the baby while she eats. If you're formula feeding, Dad can handle half those feedings. Once your breastfeeding routine is well established, which may take a few months, he can feed the baby bottles of your expressed milk.

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Use the Five Senses

A breastfeeding mom gets hours each day to gaze into her baby's eyes during feedings, while Dad misses out. So encourage a new father to uses the five senses to connect with his baby. Looking into her eyes, talking to her and holding up objects for her to smell engages her senses and excites her. Dad can try using motion to delight his baby too, suggests licensed psychologist Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D., writing for PsychCentral.com. Encourage the father to try rocking, gentle bouncing and other movements too. Once he perfects a jiggle-jiggle-bounce motion that soothes her, that can be his special "Daddy" move.

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