Posted: Aug 30, 2012 8:00 AM
Moms may get the spotlight when the stork visits, but a bond between daddy and baby is just as essential. However, new dad apprehension and inexperience can keep him from maneuvering the newborn world. From getting involved with feedings to becoming an authority on baby massage, discover five baby bonding tips for dads.

Get first hand with feeding

It's said that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach -- but a new dad may be surprised that it doesn't even have to be his own belly getting filled! Be it a midnight bottle or serving up baby's first cereal, getting involved in mealtime is a chance to bond as well as a way for a youngster to identify daddy as a caregiver, too.

Bond over a good book

Babies love the sound of daddy's voice, especially when cuddle time is involved. Whether it's a board book or even a newspaper read out loud, the chance to both bond and teach by reading together is an easy way for a new dad and his baby to make a connection.

Accessorize with a baby sling or pouch

Babies love to be held, so schlepping a newborn around in a sling or pouch is not only primo bonding time between a new dad and his baby but is hands-free too. Just be sure to check out the most recent recall information before wearing a baby with a pouch or sling.

Cuddle up with kangaroo care

The power of skin-to-skin time can be greatly underestimated for both newborns and new dads alike. With baby down to his diaper and daddy without a shirt, be sure both are kept covered in a blanket and revel in the moment.

ERGO baby carrierBecome a baby massage guru

Getting hands on with bonding is easy when a daddy taps into baby's main means of communication -- touch. Especially when baby is fussy or right after a bath, even the novice of new dads can use baby lotion to give baby a massage and sooth both his and his baby's nerves.

Although initial feelings of nervousness can be overwhelming, new dad worries eventually melt away. "The more time dads spend holding their new babies, the more their paternal instinct is activated and the more comfortable they feel comforting and caring for their newborns," advises Dr. Laura Markham, child psychologist, "This is usually a transformative experience for dad, a tremendous relief to mom and a vital relationship for the baby." Before long, a special bond between daddy and baby will form that nothing can break!

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