Tips for New Fathers: How to Interact with Your Newborn Baby

Talk to and cuddle your babyI remember when my son was born, the nurses were not just going about their business as they took his vitals. They were talking and interact with him. I found this interesting. He was only minutes old and you would think that talking to a newborn baby is pointless. Whether or not your newborn is minutes old or a few months old interacting with him can do a lot for their development.

Your new baby has been immersed into a new world with all kinds of stimuli. Much of the stimuli your baby is experiencing is your voice, the touch or your hand, and the sight of your face. Because of this, some of the best ways to interact with your newborn is to talk to him, cuddle him, and to let him look at your face.

Talk To Your Baby

Babies love to hear your voice, even newborn babies. Studies have shown that talking to your baby is correlated with vocabulary development. Not just any kind of talking, but engaging in “baby talk.” Baby talk is when you use a higher pitched voice and draw out key words, such as saying, “Let’s change your diiiiaper!” You can go about your day with your baby by describing what you see and what you’re doing using baby talk. You’ll also want to make sure as you speak to your baby that it is in an interaction style. As you do this, your newborn will engage with you by looking at you and by cooing and babbling back. All of this is a forerunner of language development.

Cuddle Your Baby

A baby’s sense of touch develops in the womb in the first trimester of pregnancy. In this womb state a baby has everything they need – warmth, protection, oxygen, and food. Then after nine months of this, they are born where they don’t have constant access to all of this. One of the best things a mother can do for their newborn baby (1 to 2 hours after birth) is to have skin to skin contact. Doing this provides for the baby’s needs – warmth, protection, oxygen (they are now breathing on their own), and food. All this helps a newborn baby bound with his mom. If for some reason mom can’t do this after giving birth (labor and bringing a baby into the world is hard work), dad is the next best substitute for skin to skin contact. Dad’s and babies need to bound too.

As your baby grows in the coming weeks and months you’ll want to cuddle him. This will help develop in your baby what is called secure attachment. This will give your baby confidence as he gets older to use you as a secure base to explore the world around him. When he is upset or scared he knows he has you as a secure base to go to. Then once you have reassured him everything is okay, he’ll want to continue exploring.

Let Your Baby Look at Your Face

Researchers showed newborn babies three dots arranged as two eyes and a mouth. These babies spent more time looking at these three dots arranged to look like a face than dots arranged in random patterns. Let your baby look at your face by laying him in lap and then putting your face where he can see it. You will find that your baby will gaze at your face. As your baby gets older, you’ll notice that your baby will track your face as you move your head back and forth. While your baby is looking at your face your baby will love to hear voice, so make sure to engage with your baby by talk to him.

What experiences have you had when engaging with your baby?

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