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Bradley Cooper said he didn't know if he loved his daughter at first. Dads struggling to connect with their kids is more common than you might think.

Bradley Cooper and his daughter Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper at Netflix's "Maestro" LA special screening
Bradley Cooper and his daughter Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper at Netflix's "Maestro" LA special screeningDavid Livingston / WireImage
  • Bradley Cooper said he struggled to love his daughter, Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper, as a newborn.

  • He said on the "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard" podcast that he realized he loved her after eight months.

  • Experts say it's normal for dads to take a few months to bond with their newborns.

Bradley Cooper opened up about struggling to love his baby daughter at first, dividing fans. But experts say dads taking a while to bond with a newborn is more common than you might think.

Cooper shares a six-year-old daughter, Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper, with his ex-partner, Irina Shayk, whom he dated from 2015 to 2019.

Speaking about his daughter on Monday's episode of "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard," Cooper said he didn't understand why parents say they would die for their baby.

"It's dope. It's cool. I'm watching this thing morph," he said, referring to his daughter. "Fascinated by it, love taking care of it. Would I die if someone came in with a gun? It's only a couple of months. I don't know."

Cooper said his feelings changed when Shayk Cooper was eight months old.

"The first like 8 months, I don't even know if I really love the kid," he said. "And then all of a sudden, it's like no question."

Earlier in the interview, Cooper said his daughter's made him a better person.

"Honestly, I'm not sure I'd be alive if I wasn't a dad," he said. "I just want to do the least amount of damage that I could do to my daughter."

Cooper's candid comments spurred a debate on X. Some X users criticized Cooper's using "thing" and "it" to refer to his daughter.

"He's talking about it like it's a science experiment," one user wrote.

Other users, including author Bolu Babalola, criticized Cooper for publicly speaking about his daughter in this way.

Some users, including author Joyce Carol Oates, came to Cooper's defense, praising his honesty.

"Bradley Cooper seems to have antagonized great hordes of people who have never met him by displaying talent in abundance & evidently speaking too honestly/candidly about his emotions in an interview," Oates wrote. "honesty is not a prudent policy in the age of social media sound bites even."

Some users also criticized the headline on a Page Six story about Cooper's comments, arguing it didn't provide the full context of the story, and said his reaction was common for parents, particularly those with paternal postpartum depression.

Dads feeling detached from their newborns is more common than you might think

It can take a little longer for dads to bond with their newborns, according to Cleveland Clinic. Research shows that dads can feel detached from their babies at first, as they navigate their new role as a father.

"It is common for it to take a little longer for dads to feel truly connected to their baby — sometimes it can take up to six months, or even longer," Helen Allmark, Postnatal Practitioner at the UK's National Childbirth Trust, told Business Insider.

But the bond between the father and child is just as important for the child's development as the one between mother and child, Allmark said, and the bond will grow as the father communicates, cares for, and plays with the baby.

To help strengthen this bond, dads should get as much skin-to-skin contact with their newborn as possible, do baby massages, and try rough and tumble play when the baby is around six months old, Anna Machin, an evolutionary anthropologist based at The University of Oxford, wrote for the NCT.

The NCT also advises dads to help look after and hold their newborn without fear of breaking them, and getting involved with feeding by either using a bottle or supporting a breastfeeding partner.

If dads are still feeling detached from their babies after a few months, it could be a sign of paternal postpartum depression — up to 25 percent experience mild depressive symptoms in the first year of being a dad, according to the NCT. In this case, the NCT advises reaching out for support and sharing your feelings.

Read the original article on Business Insider