Daddy Bonding with Baby

Kyle Conway

My wife and our child have a very good relationship. Since my wife is breastfeeding our son he is only able to have one of his most basic needs met by mom, not dad. This has created a sort of limbo for me as the father. Since our son’s primary activities are eating and sleeping (with the occasional bowel movements in between) there is really very little room for dad. Also, my wife tells me that our son “cluster feeds,” which is apparently a style of feeding that a child can have. In his case it means that he’ll eat for 3-4 hours straight, take a longer nap, then wake up and do it all over again.

I’m quite jealous of my wife’s ability to have a conversation with our child for more than five minutes without him crying or being asleep. The greatest opportunity I have to spend time holding my child is when he’s sleeping. If he’s awake I can only hope to confuse him into forgetting about his hunger for a short while to keep him from crying. This takes a toll on me as I feel utterly useless as a father to my son.

This all changed, sort of, when my wife collected a few ounces worth of breast milk throughout the day and I was able to feed our child. Now here was a person I barely knew. He was quiet, content, and very intent on his purpose of chugging down the milk. When he was drinking he looked at me. He would stare at me and listen to me talk to him. We could finally have a conversation! He also falls asleep and is totally relaxed and loose. This is a far cry from the child who, if he’s not asleep, tries to either find milk on daddy or kick and scream his way to his mother’s chest.

He’s not even 3 weeks old yet so it’s hard to figure out how to bond with him in the future. I can’t even tell if we’ve found a repeating cycle of behavior yet. How do dad’s bond with babies? Are there other ways?