Another article I published on Family Friendly HQ. Enjoy!
Same-sex parent Ranae von Meding talks about how partners who didn't give birth can bond with their baby.
Bonding with your baby can be hard. Most people just assume that they will have this instant connection with their child. But for most of us, that’s just not the case. You have to get to know this new person you’ve created and figure each other out. That takes time.
For the parent who didn’t give birth or the parent who is not the main caregiver, bonding with your baby can be doubly difficult. Here’s the thing- it’s not a ‘gendered’ issue and one which only men face. It can also be hard for parents in same-sex relationships.
I gave birth to both of our daughters, so even though my wife and I are both mothers, there are differences in how we have both bonded with our daughters.
I wouldn’t say it’s been ‘easier’ for me, but it’s certainly been simpler at times. One of the big things is the fact that I have the boobs with the milk. And in the early days, weeks and months, feeding is one of the main things in a babies life.
For anyone who has breastfed, when your baby is hungry, thirsty, sad, excited, scared, tired, waking up, falling asleep (shall I go on?)...well, the only thing they will want is the boobs. And that can be hard for the other parent.
Believe me when I say that you don’t need to be able to give the baby a bottle in order to bond with them. Yes by all means if that’s what you want, then go for it! But there are so many other ways to connect.
My wife needs to find her own unique way to bond with our babies. Here are just a few ways in which she has done that:
I’m a BIG fan of babywearing. And I genuinely don’t know how I would parent without it. It has also been a great way for Audrey to connect with the girls. There is nothing quite like your baby tucked up safe on your chest and falling asleep.
Swimming has been one of our favourite things to do as a family, and such a bonding experience for Audrey and the girls. We did a summer term with Swim Cubs over the last few months, and Audrey often takes Ava on little one on one dates to the pool.
One of their favourite things to do is to head off on the Luas and go up to the Square and see the fish and go to the play area. It’s their thing. Ava absolutely adores it and now Arya joins in the fun too.
Audrey has been dancing with the girls and playing them music from the moment that we conceived! So it’s no wonder they both love it. She used to play music to my belly and then once they were born she would dance them to sleep. I vividly remember a period of time when Ava would only fall asleep to Audrey dancing around with her on her shoulder while blasting out the Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross version of Endless Love.
Reading is so important for people of all ages and it can be a really great way to connect with your child without the distraction of phones and tv. We’ve both read to the girls from the time they were born. Firm favourites are ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’, ‘Mommy, Mama and Me’ and ‘Goodnight Moon.’ We love going to our local library which is a great resource for parents of young kids.
What are ways that you and your partner have bonded with your babies?