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Being a father to a baby girl is an amazing adventure, and she’ll steal your heart the minute you lay eyes on her. While having a baby is a joyous occasion, it can also be challenging and a little overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. 

Helping your partner through pregnancy and preparing for your child’s birth are the first two steps on this lifelong journey of parenthood. The hospital or doctor’s office will usually offer a free class where you can learn about the stages of labor and how to help your partner cope with labor pain. You should be able to take a tour of the labor and delivery area as well. After your bundle of joy is born, never hesitate to ask for help. There will be a lot to learn, like diapering, preparing bottles, and what to do if she cries through the night. 

The Importance of Dad Bonding with Baby

It’s essential to establish and maintain a strong bond with your daughter. Your relationship with your girl can positively or negatively inform her behavior and life choices. Research concurs that dads play a big role in their daughters’ ability to develop healthy self-esteem, self-worth, and body image. Studies show fathers impart a far-reaching influence on their daughters—from academic achievements and dating to how they handle stressful situations.

A Go-To Bonding Timeline

Here are some helpful tips for having a girl, including key steps you can take from infancy to adolescence to strengthen the relationship with your daughter.

Birth to 24 Months

  • Diaper, feed, bathe, dress, and read to her
  • Encourage her to play with all sorts of toys, as long as they’re age-appropriate and safe

Toddler to Pre-Teen Years

  • Do fun things with her such as tea parties, dressing up, playing with dolls, letting her paint your nails, and playing video games
  • Learn how to style her hair and select color-coordinated clothes
  • Encourage her creativity through fun and challenging projects
  • Introduce her to sports, including those considered “male-dominated” like football
  • Get involved in school activities like field trips, special projects, or sports teams
  • Teach her how to make and repair things around the house
  • Never compare her unique abilities to that of a boy or a brother

Teenage Years

It’s common for teenage girls to experience dramatic emotional ups and downs due to physical and hormonal upheavals. You may feel hurt when she pulls away from you, but this is a normal part of child development when she willfully expresses her individuality and asserts her personal preferences. While you can’t turn back the clock to when she was a little girl, don’t forget the importance of parent-child bonding during her teens. Despite the challenges, it’s even more crucial at this vulnerable stage in her life.

  • Discuss tough topics like sex, drugs, and other risky behavior with her mom, so you’re both prepared to talk to your daughter about these issues as they arise
  • By all means, tell your daughter she looks pretty, but it’s more important to listen to what she says, especially when she opens up about her thoughts, feelings, and dreams
  • Promote healthy eating and exercise rather than suggesting she go on a diet (unless her pediatrician recommends it for health reasons)
  • Be consistent by showing her unconditional love through the good and bad times
  • Never forget that your best ally in bonding with your daughter is her mom, so work together to ensure she feels safe and supported by you both

Above all, remember that bonding doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a process that involves spending quality time together over many years. It’s up to you to jump in with both feet, be authentic, learn new things, and always strive to do your best. And don’t forget to enjoy every moment, because before you know it, she’ll be all grown up.

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