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Struggling to bond with your newborn while mum makes it look like child's play? Read on for the best ways to develop a lasting bond with your little star
We don't always fall in love with a new baby the instant they arrive; it takes time to build up that bond.
Knowing how to bond with baby can sometimes be harder for dads, as we haven't been carrying baby around with us for nine months, or actually given birth.
Here are a few tried-and-tested ways of building up that special relationship.
Play with baby
Put down the Xbox and concentrate on a few games of peekaboo instead. You'll soon be rewarded with a smile and a giggle, which make all the sleepless nights worthwhile.
Having milk ready to go for the 3am feed means you can pull your weight in the middle of the night. If mum is breastfeeding, get her to pump extra milk beforehand or make up an extra bottle.
Sing and soothe
My youngest had terrible colic, so I spent hours walking her around the house and singing songs to soothe her. My rendition of Nelly The Elephant wouldn't have won The X-Factor, but it gave me plenty of time with our new baby.
Yes, it's nerve-racking at first, but nothing bonds a family together as fast as fishing baby poo out of the bath. Buy some bath toys to make it fun, or try getting in together. Start early and it'll become an enjoyable part of your routine.
Massage can ease colic and constipation, as well as helping your baby to sleep. Classes usually start at about six weeks, but there's no reason why you can't start doing it straight after birth, as long as you read up on what is and isn't suitable for newborns.
Use your eyes
For the first month or so, a baby can't focus much more than 20cm away, so take every opportunity to get up close and personal. Your baby will soon start to react and recognise you – and that feels amazing.
Get hold of a sling or baby carrier and strap your little one in whenever you get the chance. You'll be face to face when you go out, and it's a great way to get stuff done around the house while keeping your baby warm and comfortable.
It may not be top of the fun list, but someone's got to do it, so why not you? You'll soon get used to the smells, and it's quite an achievement when you realise you can do it one-handed, in the dark.
Talk and read
Your new son or daughter is going to hear a lot of your voice over the next few decades, so start as you mean to go on, reading books and just chatting from day one. Your baby will feel closer to you by hearing the soothing sound of your voice.
Make something 'your' thing
No matter what you do with your newborn, there'll probably be one thing you find easier or more rewarding than any other. Brilliant news – make that your special responsibility and you'll soon wonder why you ever worried about bonding with baby.
By Rob Mansfield