The first contact with the child

How to connect with your newborn baby

When you look into your newborn baby’s eyes, you’ll experience an intense gaze that feels like a strong connection. Most newborns lie with their eyes wide open right after birth – on average for around 40 minutes. This is where the bonding begins, also for you as a father.

To connect with your child and strengthen the bond between father and child, you need to know that:

  • Your baby sees, hears and feels from the moment of birth.
  • Your baby starts bonding with you right after birth.
  • You can connect with your child right from the start – if you’re patient.
  • You can strengthen your child’s bond with you as a father through contact from the start.
  • Every activity and contact you have with your child helps strengthen the bond between you – changing nappies, picking the baby up, singing, talking and smiling at him/her, holding hands, or whatever you do.

Did you know that…

– Your newborn baby has 300 bones in his/her body – that’s 94 more than adults! Over time, some grow together into larger bones.

– Your baby has no kneecaps. They only grow out when the baby is around 6 months old.

– A newborn pees approximately every 20 minutes.

Your child mirrors himself/herself in you

Your baby will be born with all senses fully developed – babies can see, hear, feel, smell and taste. So you can have close ties with your child right from the start.

If you are patient and allow for the fact that your baby’s reactions to the environment are slower than an adult’s and last two to three seconds, you may find that your baby can imitate you within the first few hours after birth. For example, if you hold your child up in front of you and stick out your tongue or raise your arm, you’ll see with just a slight delay that the baby is trying to mimic your movements.

Not all children are ready to connect in the same way, but the urge to bond is present in all children. Of course, children are different, and it’s no disaster if your baby doesn’t react the same way right after birth.

What your newborn baby can do

A week or so after birth, your baby can distinguish your smell from other people’s. And a little later, your child will be able to distinguish mum and dad’s voices from other voices.

Your child prefers your smell to others’, prefers listening to familiar voices to unfamiliar voices, and prefers looking at your faces to other people’s faces. Your child also quickly learns to influence their surroundings, so they can see, hear or smell you.

At the beginning, babies prefer to look at shapes with patterns and colours and things that move. You’ll also find that your baby loses interest in familiar things and wants to see something new. Your child is interested in getting to know the world and exploring unknown territory. After the first two or three weeks, your baby will recognise mum and dad’s faces and will prefer to look at the faces he/she “belongs” to.

So get your first contact off to a good start so you can strengthen the bond with your child from the very beginning.