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Myth Busters: Dad and Grandma Can’t Bond with Baby Unless You Use Bottles

Feeding a baby is a very bonding experience. Whether a baby is fed by breast or bottle, feeding involves closeness, touching, and eye contact. Because of these benefits, many parents worry that exclusively breastfed babies won’t be adequately bonded to caregivers in their life other than their mothers.

Fortunately this need not be a concern! Fathers, grandmothers, and other caregivers involved in baby’s life can bond beautifully with the baby, despite not giving bottles. So without further ado, here are some ideas to help others bond with baby without feeding!

Myth Busters: Dad and Grandma can't bond with baby unless you use bottles

Ways for Others to Bond with Baby

Diaper duty! Though it is probably the least pleasant of possible bonding experiences, diapering is nonetheless necessary and requires physical contact!

Skin-to-skin contact. Bare skin contact by fathers is a wonderful way to facilitate the bond with baby, as well as provide warmth for both parties!

Going for walks. Sometimes it takes many, many steps to soothe a fussy baby, and it is actually extremely ideal for the person walking the baby not to be the mother! Childbirth is hard work, whether it was an uncomplicated vaginal birth or an emergency cesarean, and this pacing on the part of another caregiver can allow the mother to prop her feet up and take a rest.

Babywearing. Babywearing isn’t just for moms! Fathers and other caregivers can learn to wear baby in a wrap, sling, or other carrier. This can be very soothing for them, and can be an incredible bonding experience when they both discover that they have the ability to calm the fussy baby!

Make your own ritual. This may be a special song you sing right before the baby drifts off to sleep. It might be a certain position you use to comfort the baby. It might be reading a specific book. Regardless of the modality chosen, it will become a special way to bond with baby that no one else shares.

Bathing. Whether the baby screams through bath time and you learn new soothing methods, or he loves the splash time and you get to laugh with him the whole time, bathing is a great way to spend time with baby and get to know what he likes.

This is by no means an exhaustive list! Each father-baby (or grandma-baby, or caregiver-baby) dyad will have their own special rituals and bonding ways. You can work in any number of ways to forge your own way to bond with baby, all while baby still receives all feedings at mom’s breast!


Rachel Wideman lives with her husband Andrew. They have a 6-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. She is a registered nurse and enjoys knitting and reading.

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