The moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant she starts to bond with her baby. Hormones constantly remind mom that baby is there and therefore she starts bonding with the baby before she even feels the baby move.
Once the baby does start to move it’s only so mom can feel it. Eventually dad and other siblings get to feel it too, but it starts with that special bond between mom and baby. Baby is born and the next big step in bonding is breastfeeding (if the woman chooses too). If mom continues to breastfeed that’s a huge bonding time between mom and baby that dad misses out on.
Many will say that mom could pump and allow dad to feed the baby sometimes too or that dad could get up part of the time to change diapers when the baby isn’t hungry. However, it has been my experience that many babies don’t like going back and forth between bottle and breast and some women struggle with pumping. Also, I’ve rarely gotten up in the middle of the night with one of my children and them not want to nurse — regardless of why they woke up. Babies equate comfort with nursing.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are just two of the ways that mom gets to bond with the baby. Something that some people miss out on though is the importance of bonding time with dad. Dad doesn’t get to be pregnant and he doesn’t get to breastfeed and he may not even get to get up throughout the night or stay with them throughout the day.
Some dads, like my husband, work a lot of hours to provide for the physical needs of the family — especially if the mom stays at home. This eats up a lot of excess time with the kids. Jimmi doesn’t get home from work until about 6 p.m., sometimes 7 p.m. Josiah can stay up a little later and get time with daddy, but Samuel typically needs to be in bed between 8 and 9 p.m. Jimmi loves our kids and I know he wants to be able to spend quality time with them and he has to try to do it in the short amount of time he has with them.
One of the things he does as his special bonding time with the kids is rock them before bed. When Josiah was a baby and a toddler, I worked in the evenings so Jimmi had the primary responsibility of taking care of Josiah on the nights that I worked. He started rocking Josiah to sleep on the nights that I worked and it became a special time for them. Yes I nursed him and yes I spent more time with him during the day and afternoon, but this was a sacred and special time of evening for just daddy and baby.
When Samuel was born the tradition carried on. Josiah enjoyed being rocked completely to sleep, but Samuel only wants to be rocked for about 10-15 minutes and then he wants to be put into bed. Jimmi has been doing this since Samuel was born and Samuel loves that special time. Jimmi told me last week that he’s happy Samuel still enjoys being rocked because Josiah stopped wanting to be rocked around the time he was two and that special time between them was over.
He’s even talked about the fact that we need a new rocking chair because the one we have was bought used when I was pregnant with Josiah and it’s been well worn. He’s ready to have another baby to rock and share this special bond with.
Once the kids start growing out of this stage where they enjoy being rocked, Jimmi has to find other ways to bond with the kids. He’s taken Josiah to play disc golf several times. There have been times when Jimmi and Josiah have watched movies together — just the two of them without me — as a way of bonding and it’s been a great thing for them.
Jimmi now gets one day a week off and it happens to coincide with a summer program at the library that does special events at 1 p.m. on those days. He is going to be able to take Josiah to the library for these events without me. Not only does it keep me from fighting with Samuel while Josiah has fun, but it’s a way for Jimmi to do something special with Josiah. Once Samuel gets older I want him to have the same thing.
As a stay at home mom and a homeschool mom I spend A LOT of time with the kids and I get to see them do a lot of things that Jimmi doesn’t. It is important to everyone involved that Jimmi get a chance to take an active part in the kids lives outside of providing for their physical needs.
Children have physical needs and then they have emotional needs. Dads are meant to provide their children with both. Children need their dads to provide both. Sometimes taking care of those physical needs does take up more time than desired, but that’s when dads should do everything they can to find special things and special time to spend with their kids. As moms, it’s our job to encourage those special times and allow dads to bond with their children.
There are some things a mom doesn’t have to do. There are some things that moms should just let dad do.