I need some advice on father to baby bonding. Everything I read says how important it is that Dad and baby bond within the early months. What happens if this hasn't happened? How to encourage that bonding... Everything I read suggests things to do with during pregnancy and the first few months.
This is for my friend whose child I care for. He is an easy going little guy and is almost 7 months old. Mom breast fed until just recently. Although she encouraged Dad to feed him early on with pumped milk. Dad has never felt as easy with baby. The problem comes now that she is expecting again and her sleep deprivation has become an issue. Dad hasn't adapted to being a dad yet. He is a nice guy and tries to help but he feels awkward with his son and extremely uncomfortable when the little guy cries. This is mostly a night time issue. They try to share night time duties by swapping days on who gets up with him when he wakes at night. Inevitably she ends up getting up though as the baby cries hysterically without calming down. The moment the baby hits her arms he is back asleep within minutes and she hands him back to Dad. When she returns to sleep within 15-20 minutes the crying begins again. I don't seem to have an issue getting him to sleep and yes I do understand that night time is different than day naps.
I suggested a night time routine of bath with a calming lotion with a light massage before bed, and that Dad is just going to have to learn to cope with the crying and learn new ways to hold or rock the baby. I feel horrible for her. They wanted him so bad (they are both in there late 30s and this is their first child). Dad though doesn't come home until late due to work and then on the weekend wants to spend his days with his friends bicycling. During Christmas break (he is a teacher) he went riding numerous days that I had his son when he could have been spending some time alone getting that bonding on. My husband had a hard time understanding why during this time his dad didn't spend some of that time enjoying his son. I feel like he is just having a hard time enjoying it because he is so uncomfortable with it. When I hand his son to him when he is home on breaks he just is uncomfortable with him. I don't believe him a bad Dad, but how can she encourage him to bond without feeling like she is making him do something he isn't comfortable doing? Thank you for any ideas or experiences you moms may have to help.