Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Come on son, let’s bond

Henry standing at chairI’ve always be open about the fact that I find it hard bonding with babies when they are really little. Those first few months when they just eat, sleep and cry I personally find tough. There isn’t that same bond that a mum experiences having grown and then given birth to the child. Plus of course you don’t really get a reaction from your baby, they can’t yet smile at you or hold their arms up to be picked up. Your best hope is a slight grin caused by wind.

That’s fine though, there was never any doubt of loving them, just that the real bond and relationship would be a slow burn. If you see me and Matilda now you’d never know about any of those worries or concerns though.

We’re definitely thick as thieves, the lady of the manor is already warning us no to gang up on her. It was the almost month off that I took when Henry was born that did it. The lady of the manor focused her time on Henry which left the 2 of us with a lot of time together and adventures walking the dog.

Henry cruisingBut Henry is slightly different for one quite specific reason, he’s breast fed 100% and has been since birth. With Matilda I had time most evenings to have a cuddle and give her a bottle, a precious 20 minutes or so to slowly build that bond and remind her everyday who daddy is. Important when you’re a commuting parent who see’s their children for 30 minutes every day.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done that with Henry. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining or saying we should have introduced formula. The lady of the manor LOVES breastfeeding Henry and I fully support her. There is something quite amazing about the whole thing and how now age 10 months he does pretty much the whole thing himself. But it does change things for me.

Not only do I not get those opportunities to start bonding but Henry is most definitely a mummies boy and if he’s tired or sick he wants her and there is no argument. This also of course also makes it hard for the lady of┬áthe manor to get a break from it all.

Henry in high chair with feet up

However in the last few weeks it’s started to change ever so slowly, Henry is now crawling around the house and pulling himself up on every available object and this bit of independence seems to have given me an opportunity.

Now we roll around on the floor playing, he crawls up to me when I sit down and clambers all over me, he smiles and laughs when I get home from work each day. Of course having moved house I now eat breakfast with both little monsters every day and get an hour in the evening before bath time.

It’s fab

My little smiley, cuddly, strong boy is starting to feel like my son.

Now when can I introduce a rugby ball?

P.S. Today is the last day of voting for the MAD blog awards, if you haven’t voted yet I’d love to be your choice in the best baby blog category. Just click here to go to the site and vote.

  • http://www.morethanjustamother.com/ Clare (MTJAM)

    Voted ;-)
    It’s great to see someone be honest about the bonding process, and I think you’re absolutely right about the breast/bottle effect. Our first set of twins were tube fed and then bottle fed, and DH was just as involved as I was. He had a lot of time of work after Alex died, and consequently spent lots of time with Josh when he was finally home from hospital. I was determined to breast-feed the girls but the result was that I spent a lot of time in a room feeding, while DH had fun with Josh. It’s all fine now, but in many ways breast-feeding had a very negative effect on all our relationships.
    Feeding aside, I’ve always thought that immediate bonding thing was a load of nonsense. It has taken time with all my children for me to get to know them, just like any other relationship.

    • http://mutteringsofafool.com/ Ben

      You are truly a star for voting.
      I have no doubt that some dads feel worried and paranoid if they don’t experience that light bulb moment at birth. But it can take time to truly build that relationship.

  • sabrina montagnoli

    Awww your wee man is your splitting image! It’s great your bond is growing. I love to see my boys together!

    • http://mutteringsofafool.com/ Ben

      You think? Everybody tells me he looks like wifey but we’ll see.

  • MotherScuffer

    It was really interesting to read this and I’ll have to share it with Gareth when he gets back from his work trip. I think he felt like he hardly even held our youngest for the first 6 months, let along got time to bond. I breastfed our youngest, constantly it seemed, for the first 6 months. It wasn’t until he was a little older that he really started to bond with his Daddy, I’d still say he comes to me for comfort first but loves time with Gareth too.

    • http://mutteringsofafool.com/ Ben

      I think your experience is pretty similar to mine. Clearly there is nothing wrong with the mother having that time to focus on breastfeeding, but it does mean the dad needs to find opportunities to have time with the baby to bond.

  • David

    Totally sympathise with you there. Olivia wasn’t breastfed due to my wife’s medical issues after the section. This meant I had to do a lot of the feeding and night stuff. Wonderful for me but tough for mum. Now that I’m at home with her we are a tight little team. She still very much needs her mamma though.

    Hopefully our next one will be breastfed although I will no doubt feel the same as you did with Henry.

    Good post.

    • http://mutteringsofafool.com/ Ben

      I think girls have a tendency to ‘prefer’ their daddies anyway :)
      It’s not a bad difference, just a difference that you need to be conscious of.

  • http://twitter.com/TheJDaddy Jallie Daddy

    Rugby ball? As soon as possible!

    Interesting how different your experience is to mine. Out circumstances are very different though too I think.

    I bonded with Jake & Ellie in the delivery room, when they were given to me to hold ‘skin-to-skin’. They each stopped crying straight away & became peaceful; Jake felt relaxed enough to pee on me. As I wrote in my blog at the time: “Happiest moment of my life”! It was almost literally love at first sight; sorry to be soppy!

    Going on I was at home with them full time, & with feeding twins bottles of some sort just had to be involved somehow so I was actively involved there too. I had to be; especially as they had to be held for at least half an hour after every feed due to reflux.

    Great post.

    And stop nagging, I’ve already voted for you, OK? ;)

    • http://mutteringsofafool.com/ Ben

      Does your wife ever feel like I do that she missed some bonding time? I actually think bonding when they’re around 1 and becoming aware etc is more important than as newborn, seems to stick more.
      Oh and you’re a star for voting, thought I’d get that final reminder in there though :)

  • http://twitter.com/Michelloui TheAmericanResident

    I can see how difficult it must be for dads to bond when the child is breastfed 100%, but good to read you’re finding ways to do it now. And the rugby ball? I’m with Jallie Daddy! No time like the present!! Do you have one of those pushchairs people run with? That’s a good one for Dad’s too, because it’s time with kids but also the kids learn early on that fitness is a part of daily life.

  • http://twitter.com/mabuzzer Richy Black

    I think it took me longer to bond with Megan than with Heather, something I think was down to the amount of time I had off when they were born. I took 2 weeks holiday with both girls (couldn’t afford the drop to SPP) but Heather was a December baby, and I was due to go back a few days before Christmas (when I also had time booked off) and my work very kindly let me work those days from home. So first time round I essentially had a whole month at home.

    I think only having half that, or slightly less than half, meant it took longer second time around, but we definitely got there in the end.

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