A Bond So Strong Early On

     Before the birth of Baby Bird I knew I wanted to create a special bond with her and I knew I would have to work harder than Mama Bird to get that, just for the sole fact that I am the dad. Naturally mothers create a bond right away via breastfeeding and from the fact that they have been housed in mom for 9 whole months.  This puts me a little behind in the bonding department.  So it makes perfect sense why Baby Bird is going to know her feel, her smell, her sound, and know that she is the one to give her the goods. I knew going in that it would be up to me to go above and beyond to ensure I made that connection too. Being that I work from home I have the ability to utilize time appropriately, putting every spare second into creating this bond. 

    Now, at no point is this an attempt to take away from the bond that Baby Bird and Mama Bird are continually making. This isn’t like some battle of the sexes, “who can do it better” scheme.  I just want to establish a strong connection and be as involved as possible as early on.

It Starts In The Delivery Room

     While I know that not every Dad gets to make a connection right at this point but if you do get the chance, you need to take it. Because we knew that Mama Bird was going to have a c-section, the first opportunity for skin to skin with the baby was offered to me simply so it wouldn’t interfere with the Doc’s stitching Mama Bird up.  Although the moment was filled with crazy emotions (if you haven’t read about the scariest moment of my life, then you need to check it out. But I digress), it was all toppled by the instant love that I felt when Baby Bird was placed into my arms. She stopped crying as soon as I held her and it was an incredible feeling. (She even started sucking on my chest trying to find the goods) Boom! The bond was starting to grow already.

Dirty Diapers and Lack of Sleep

     A baby sticks to 3 things when they are a newborn: eat, sleep, poop. Mama Bird handles the first and let’s be real that’s the main one (who doesn’t have food as their number one priority?).  And those little munchkins learn quick!  You can see it right away. When Baby Bird was hungry and crying and I would set her in Mama Bird’s arms and she would stop right away, even before she got on the boob.

     Obviously, I can’t fulfill that job for Baby Bird (at least not until bottle feeding, which can take some time for mothers to get to a point where they can pump enough to bottle feed) so I needed to pull as much weight as I could in the other 2 areas.

     So I told Mama Bird that every time Baby Bird wakes up in the middle of the night “I’ve got it. I will get out of bed, change her diaper and bring her to you to handle the feeding”. Although you may not think that this works it really does. It gives me plenty of time with my daughter, meeting her other basic needs. It doesn’t matter that there’s a poopy diaper at 2am and I’m half asleep trying not to make a big mess of the whole thing, it’s all worth it. Plus it’s a huge help to my wife, which she deserves. 

I look like a wreck in this photo. Lack of sleep hits me hard but IT WAS SO WORTH IT

“Sounds” Good To Me

     I wanted to make sure that the sound of my voice was unmistakeable to the baby. Now anyone who knows me knows that this shouldn’t be an issue because, much like my Dad, my voice is loud, distinctive and carries to the farthest distance.  But regardless it was important to me to have my sound engrained in Baby Bird, so she would know when I was in the room or that I was always nearby even if she couldn’t see me. 

     So I took every opportunity to talk, sing, and rap to her (yes, I rapped to my baby girl). I would, and still do, just talk to her about my day or how much she has changed my life. I’d do this at diaper changes.  Or at bed time, singing to her to soothe her.  She loves,“You are my sunshine” and I think she even likes my own song called “My little baby” aside from the lack of a cohesive flow, offbeat rhythm and overall poor musical ability on all fronts. And if it’s a more upbeat mood kind of time and she’s wide awake, I rap the Fresh Prince’s smash hits “Summertime” or “I’m All That”. It’s all just about her getting to know my voice, and her crazy Dad.

Be Patient

     In the beginning it’s tough to see whether or not the effort you’re putting in is actually working, but you just have to stick with it. Repeat it over and over and over because it will work. Week to week you will slowly start to see the bond grow stronger and stronger. 

     Now when she spots me coming near, she recognizes me. When I hold her, she calms down.  When she smiles when we lock eyes it makes my heart melt and makes every 2am wake up call, all worth it. 

"What's that thing you're holding Mom?"

"I hear Dad!"

"IT'S DAD!"

"I LOVE YOU DAD!"

     All these little moments is what it’s all for. It’s about creating a special bond with my daughter that will stay strong forever. It’s to let her know that I am ALWAYS there for her. It’s to let her know she is always loved. It’s for us, building our family team, and it’s something miraculous. It’s something beyond words, something that I don’t think I can properly describe. It’s something that I can’t wait for to grow bigger and bigger and bigger.

- Papa Bird