What is Engrossment?
Engrossment is defined as the close and mutual bonding between a father and his baby. It has been seen that fathers who are encouraged to actively take part in the caring and nurturing of their little ones have displayed a lot of sensitivity and attachment.
There are a number of things fathers may be encouraged to do to ensure that a strong attachment is created.
Begin engrossing while your little one is yet to arrive: Babies recognize their mama’s voice almost as soon as they are born because they have been hearing it since long in their mother’s womb. By this time, they can hear and differentiate between voices. So would-be dads should gear up and start speaking to their little one while she is still inside.
Participate in the delivery: Fathers can be present in their little one’s delivery. This may not be common in India. But in case it is allowed, be there to provide emotional support to your wife and to see your little one arrive. You are going to remember this forever.
Give gentle massages to your little one: Massages are a great way of bonding, especially with your baby. Your little one is going to love your soothing, rhythmic touch on her skin. Learn how to massage. Keep it gentle and talk and whistle to her while you are at it.
Rock your little one: Babies love the repeated gentle motions of rocking. Rock her in a consistent rhythm is your arms. She is going to love it.
Enjoy your alone time with your little one: Take some time out when you can spend it alone with your little one. Be there when her mother is not around. Take baths together. Dance with her in slow, rhythmic motions. Be careful not to be too jerky. Or just simply lay her on your tummy and talk to her. It is going to make her feel comfortable, relaxed and warm. Such physical proximity allows babies to recognize your smell and the sound of your heartbeat.
Read and sing to your little one: Activities like singing, reading or rhyming involve a lot of voice modulation which babies love and pay a lot of attention to. Your little one is going to love hear your soothing voice go up and down.
Train your voice and sight: Modulate your voice according to the rhyme or just read a newspaper. Whatever you read, add a lot of expression to it. Make eye contact with your little one as you read. Ask questions on her behalf and answer them. Keep your voice soft and gentle.
Help out with some of the baby chores: Helping out with some of the baby chores such as baths or nappy changes allows your little one to become more and more familiar with your involvement in her life. Also, it’s going to be a welcome break for the mother.
Take her to the doctor: Dads can also help out by taking their little ones for doctor’s check-ups and vaccinations. Your engagement with the doctor is going to help you know your little one and her challenges better. This in turn is going to involve you more in the growth and development of your baby.
Entertain her with funny faces and sounds: Never let your little one get bored with dullness. Give her some variety in your facial expression and voice. Make funny faces ,sounds and watch her chuckle and giggle in amusement.
Cuddle up whenever you have the time: Find the time to cuddle with your little darling. This is going to be a relaxing exercise for you as well.
The more you get involved in the daily baby chores, the closer you get to her. This bond is going to last a lifetime, even if later on in her life you may not have the time to devote. Babies are open to bonding almost from the first hour of their arrival. So don’t hesitate to step into her mama’s shoes and enjoy the lovely moments of engrossment.