Q: We had our second child, a beautiful girl three months ago. Our first is an energetic two-year-boy, and being his father, he is the light of my eye. The problem is that when my daughter arrived, I did not have the same feelings of attachment that I did with my son when he was born. This is really getting under my skin, and I'm starting to feel inadequate as a father. I am generally a very loving person, but this worrying has put a small barrier between my daughter and myself. Is this normal? I know this sounds drastic, but will I ever have that feeling of attachment? Any advice would help calm the nerves. Thanks for your time. Dadof2beautifulchildren
Nicole Answer: Attachment is a funny feeling. Lots is written about attachment or bonding with your baby. Despite many articles claiming that you have an overwhelming feeling at birth when you first set eyes on your baby and a wonderful bond is immediately formed. This may be so for some, however I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be so.
A lot of the time, there is so much happening during and after birth and you simply may not be able to solely focus on your baby. As a Dad, it is likely that you were looking after and caring for your first born at this initial time of bonding. Worrying about how he was going to cope and adjust with a new baby, going to and fro from the hospital rather than staying there and being able to fully absorb and be part of the first few days.
Understandly, you now are a few months down the track and worrying about not bonding so strongly with your second child. However the situation is likely to still be the same. You are likely to be still focused on your first borns needs, daily care, feelings as well as being back at work and adjust to all that another child brings. You really just don’t have the same intensive experience as you do with your first baby. The mother tends to focus on the second baby while dad is delegated the older child.
My suggestion is to relax and make time to spend solely with her, without her brother or her mother. Bonding happens when you care for eg. Physically care, change nappies, bath, wrap your newborn, have cuddles, chat too, smile at and hold, and spend time together. Also remember that your son, first born, has a fair bit of a head start on the attachment relationship and the bond you have together is by now really strong. Just trust in yourself, be yourself and care for your daughter the bond will come.