When it comes to fostering a connection with baby, moms typically have it easy. From the womb to labor & delivery, the mom-baby bond is as strong as they come, as Mom becomes instantly immersed in every interaction with that precious bundle of joy. But partners certainly don’t have to be left out — although it may seem like newborns do little more than eat, sleep, poop, and cry, there are actually many ways dads and spouses can nurture that special connection. Here are a few of our top tips for helping to build that baby bond.

Connect through skin-to-skin contact.

In much the same way that moms do, dads can benefit greatly from skin-to-skin contact with their newborns. Gently cradling your infant against your bare chest is a simple way to regulate their temperature, heart rate, and breathing, while simultaneously releasing those special bonding hormones like oxytocin. Touch can also help baby feel safer and more secure while reducing stress for both of you.

Assist with day-to-day baby care.

If Mom is exclusively nursing, partners can offer support by bringing baby to Mom for feedings and burping baby. If pumping breastmilk or using formula, dads can help with bottle-feeding, which can be a surprisingly intimate experience.  Assisting with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, changing diapers, and playing a part in the bedtime routine are all key so baby knows that Dad is also an important figure in their life!

Enjoy one-on-one playtime together and talk to baby.

Set aside time together just the two of you to bond. Little ones often love the sound of deep voices, so talk away! Tell them about your day, talk about your favorite sports teams, or sing or read aloud to them. Make silly faces at your baby — but don’t be surprised when your infant eventually tries to mimic you and make faces back! Dads can also help with tummy time sessions, which helps baby develop strength and coordination.Bonus points if you set aside this special time in the wee hours of the morning, while Mom gets a little extra sleep. Infants are liable to be in a better mood this time of day, as opposed to during those fussy evening witching hours.

Make eye contact with baby as often as you can.

Chances are that your baby will always win in a staring contest! Looking into your newborn’s eyes and making consistent eye contact during feedings and one-on-one time can be key in early development. Studies actually show that regular eye contact can help babies develop stronger language skills by the age of 2.

Participate in babywearing.

Invest in a baby carrier or wearable sling that lets you wear your baby close to your body. Not only does this provide comfort and security for baby, it also allows you to give Mom a much-needed break and engage in everyday activities while keeping them close and fostering that physical bond. Remember that everything is new and exciting for babies, so you can also take them on walks and show them the world!