Building a Strong Bond with Your Baby: Activities for Dads and Infants

April 10, 2023 5 min read

Building a Strong Bond with Your Baby: Activities for Dads and Infants

When it comes to building a bond with your baby, it’s something that both parents have to work at! If you’re a dad and want to connect with your baby, but you just don’t know how, then you’ll be excited to know there are some activities you can do!

Research has shown that when a baby has a bond with dad, it reduces cognitive delay, can even help promote weight gain in infants born early, and it can help moms with their breastfeeding journeys (source). So, if you’re interested in building a strong bond with your baby as a dad, keep reading. 

Understanding the Bonding Process

As much as everyone would like to believe, it’s not every day that a bond just magically occurs. Sometimes it takes work from the father to establish a bond with their baby. The first topic I want to cover is understanding the bonding process.

The Role of Oxytocin

If you’ve never heard of it, oxytocin plays such an important role in the father-baby bond. This natural hormone is released when babies experience soothing and comforting interactions. Moms can provide this during breastfeeding, but dads can experience it while helping to care for their baby.

Responsive Parenting

A baby crying can ignite frustration in the parents because we just want them to feel better and sometimes we don’t know what the problem is. However, dads can bond even better with their children by responding to their babies' cues. With the baby cries, figuring out the baby’s cues quickly can easily help the parental bond. The baby starts to trust you and knows that you will respond to their needs. Meeting your baby’s physical and emotional needs is more important than you’ll ever know!


Bonding Activities for Dads and Infants

Skin to Skin Contact

One of the simplest, yet purest forms of bonding is skin to skin contact. The first benefit of skin to skin contact is bonding with the baby! This process also allows the dad to feel more confident in his role as the father. It’s also been shown that as dad does skin to skin contact, he also gets a sense of pride and protectiveness over his baby. Both the baby and daddy get the benefit of this easy and effective way to form a bond.

Feeding and Burping

Something as simple as feeding your baby and burping him or her can help you feel connected and more bonded. If mom is breastfeeding, dad can still support her and bond with the baby. If mom is exclusively breastfeeding, then dad can bond by doing the burping. If mom is willing to pump, then dad can bottle feed the baby and bond that way! Remember, it’s the simple activities that add up to creating the most amazing bond! Your baby will learn to trust you as a source of comfort and provision.

Reading and Storytelling

I know this may be weird for some dads, but it’s all about getting past that initial weird feeling and doing what works best to create that bond. Although you may not feel as though your baby would listen to you as you read a story or do storytelling, it’s been proven that babies are actually capable of listening and learning. As you read, the baby is listening to the sound of your voice, which makes him feel safe. Reading and storytelling also teaches the baby about communication, introduces new number and alphabet concepts, and gives the baby information about the world that he never knew before.

Singing and Music

It took me a while to find my “dad singing voice,” but when I did, it made all the difference in bonding with my kids. If you don’t feel comfortable singing, you can always just turn on music and sit there and rock the baby or even walk around the house. Again, this is another way to establish a bond with your infant, but also to communicate and engage with your baby! Oxytocin can also be released through music, so as you listen with your baby she experiences the comforting hormone that makes her bond with you.



Babies (even the youngest) love to be on the move. They spend the first nine months of their lives moving around with mom in the womb. Once your baby is born, he or she will still find comfort in movement. A great way for dads to bond with their babies is to go for walks. Even if these walks are simply circling the floors in the middle of the night, your baby will associate the soothing movement with dad. And all babies love the fresh air of the outdoors, even if your walks just start as an everyday walk to the mailbox. The littlest ones love to be snuggled in your arms or in a baby carrier, but as your baby grows he or she will look forward to longer walks around your neighborhood or at a nearby park.

Establishing a Routine with Baby

Another way to bond with your baby as a dad is to get involved in their routine. Remember, dads, it’s the small things that you do that also gets you involved in establishing a bond with your baby!


Creating a Bedtime Routine

One way to further connect with your baby is to create a bedtime routine with your baby, or participate in the one that has already been created. During the bedtime routine, you’ll want to make sure the things you’re doing are consistent. The routine can include a bath, listening to music, a snack, prayer time, and rocking in a rocking chair. You can choose what to include in the bedtime routine.


Get Involved in Mealtime

A very fun and unique way to get involved in connecting with your baby is to get involved in mealtime. If mom is exclusively breastfeeding, you can sit down by her and talk to her and the baby. Even just letting baby hear your voice during mealtime can make for a great bonding association. You can also participate in mealtime as the baby gets older and starts to eat purees and solids. Just being involved is a huge factor in any bonding moment.


Create Your Outside Time

Statistics indicate that Americans are getting far too few hours in the great outdoors. Don’t be one of the statistics! Make a dedicated time when you and your baby can enjoy the beauty of creation. This might start out as simply your daily ‘fresh air walks.’ However, once you create a routine, this can grow into Saturday hiking adventures to lots of new places, star gazing, camping, bird watching, or long walks on the beach. This is the best way to bond with your child and instill in them a love for nature. Your child will love and look forward to her ‘dad time’ in the wide open spaces.


Get Involved in the Everyday

Some people seem to think that there is some sort of magical equation for bonding with your baby as a dad. The truth is that getting involved in the small everyday things is the best thing you can do to build that strong bond. Babies thrive off of consistency and predictability. You can be both a consistent and reliable presence for your child during their babyhood, toddlerhood, and childhood all the way through adulthood!

Dads building a strong bond with their baby is just as important as moms. These activities for dads and infants can help you build a bond that is everlasting. As your child grows, you can modify this list to work as they grow. Of course, this isn’t an extensive list, it’s just the beginning. Bonding is a lifetime experience.


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