For some parents, it is love at first sight. The moment the little one comes into the world, there is a sudden rush of hormones – dopamine and oxytocin, which causes the burst of instant, unconditional connection and love.
But building a bond is an individual matter, and you shouldn’t worry if it takes a little while. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to get to know your baby, but there is always a reason why it takes longer, i.e. difficult pregnancy, traumatic delivery, or other health issues.
Do not feel guilty or ashamed if you have not yet formed a bond with your newborn – this will eventually happen. Below you will find a few tips on how to help the process.
How To Bond With a Newborn Baby?
There are many ways to establish a bond between baby and parent. First of all, begin skin-to-skin contact as soon as the baby is born. You should also have any form of physical contacts, such as feeding, kissing, cuddling and massaging. Talking, singing and reading to the baby while maintaining eye contact is also important. Lastly, do not ignore your baby’s cries. By following these few simple methods, you will certainly be able to start a happy and healthy relationship with your little one soon enough!
How Does Bonding Work, And Why Is It So Important?
Bonding is simply an emotional connection between the baby and the parents.
Building a bond with a newborn is extremely important for your baby physical and mental development. Research shows that a baby who receives love and acceptance in early childhood will become an independent, strong and confident person who can establish good relations with other people.
Building emotional attachment with your child starts with the conviction that your child is an individual who deserves respect and acceptance from the very beginning. The tiniest human being – a newborn baby – has her uniqueness and needs. It is the responsibility of parents to learn about her character, temperament, and development stage. You must use your parental intuition, sensitivity and empathy and observe your baby conscientiously, to respond to her needs.
Everyday life creates many opportunities and situations that naturally create and nurture a bond with your baby. All you need to do is look for them.
Here are 7 fantastic ways to bond with your little one:
1. Bonding During Pregnancy.
The building of a bond starts way before the baby is born – during pregnancy. It begins when you feel the first movements in your belly. Then, you see your little one on the ultrasound screen.
Your baby also starts getting to know you in the womb through the sound of your voice, heartbeat and smell.
Therefore, it is worth talking, singing and reading to your baby during pregnancy. It doesn’t matter what you talk about – as long as you feel comfortable and at ease.
By the 20th week of pregnancy, your baby learns to recognize your voice and gets used to it. And after birth, she will associate your voice with a sense of closeness, security and care.
So, don’t miss this chance to feel an immediate connection to your baby by talking to your bump.
Also, encourage the dad to do the same. Once the baby is born, it will help him form a relationship with the baby, and he will feel more confident in interacting with her!
2. Plenty Of Skin-To-Skin Contact
Being skin-to-skin with your child is a magical experience for both of you.
After giving birth, the naked baby is placed on mommy’s bare chest, to form body contact. To adjust to life outside the womb, the baby needs to feel the warmth of her mother, smell her, and hear her heartbeat. Hence, these first few hours after birth is crucial to your baby’s wellbeing.
Moreover, skin-to-skin care is often used to treat premature or sick babies who are in neonatal care.
So, what are the benefits of skin-to-skin contact?
- Reducing the risk of baby blues. Whenever the baby is calm, fed and sleeping well, the mother feels inner peace and doesn’t worry about her new responsibilities.
- Better sleep. Babies who stay close with their mom or dad for a long time fall asleep easier.
- Effective lactation. A woman begins producing milk when her baby is close to her.
- Faster recovery after pregnancy. Skin-to-skin helps the uterus contract faster and reduce postpartum bleeding.
- Regulates breathing, heartbeat and temperature of your baby.
To experience skin-to-skin comfortably, you should sit or lie down (this encourages a joint nap). At least one hour of skin-to-skin contact per day will produce the best results, but the longer, the better.
It is worth keep skin-to-skin contact through the first 12 weeks of life.
Skin-to-skin Contact After Birth
3. Maintaining Eye Contact, Smiling, Singing, Talking And Reading To Your Baby
Keep your eyes on your baby whenever you are talking to her and doing anything else around her. Babies are fascinated by human faces.
Based on the research, direct physical contact in early childhood may improve self-esteem and relationships in adulthood. On the other hand, poor eye contact with the mother leads to the child becoming insensitive and incapable of expressing feelings.
So, remember to smile at your baby when you make eye contact. She will feel calm and motivated to smile back, which will improve her ability to communicate.
Talking and reading stories to your baby is another way to form an emotional connection. So, talk to her, tell her all about the world around her. Explain to her what you are doing and what she is doing as you change her nappy. And remember to maintain eye contact.
In interaction with parents, a baby not only learns to speak and gains knowledge of the world. She also develops self-esteem, which will be beneficial to her as she grows up.
4. Cuddling, Carrying, Kissing Your Baby
A soothing touch also helps create a bond between mother and baby. Physical closeness to the parent is one of the most basic needs of a baby vital to her healthy development.
Babies enjoy any physical contact with their parents. These include cuddling, holding and kissing them. The baby feels secure when you cuddle her, rock her to sleep, or stroke her back. Because of physical contact with you, your baby releases oxytocin, which causes blissful happiness and peace.
The gentle touch, body heat and heartbeat also have a soothing effect. Therefore, most babies stop crying when mom or dad picks them up. So, hold your little one often, not just when she fusses. Otherwise, your baby will learn that only when she sobs will you pay attention to her.
At an early age, babies who are satisfied with the closeness of their parents are more self-confident and independent.
So, make sure your baby is close to you (you can carry the baby in a sling or inside a baby carrier).
Please don’t be afraid that excessive cuddling and rocking will spoil your baby – it won’t happen! Babies aren’t able to manipulate their surroundings!
5. Massaging Your Baby
It is important to remember that touch is the first sense that appears in a human being during fetal development. Therefore, a massage can be highly beneficial for newborns. As well as relieving conditions like colic, trapped gases, it also gives a sense of intimacy, joy, comfort and relaxation.
When massaging newborns or infants, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Choose a place where both of you feel relaxed and comfortable.
- Make sure the room is warm. Your hands must also be warm.
- You can massage your baby on a changing table or a bed.
- The best time to massage your baby is between feedings when your baby is neither hungry nor too full.
- Prepare cosmetics that are safe for babies, such as almond or coconut oil
- During the massage, play soothing music or speak gently to your baby.
Introduction to baby massage
6. Feeding As A Form Of Physical Contact
In terms of infant feeding, society and health campaigns place a lot of stress on new mothers to breastfeed exclusively. Oftentimes, we hear that “breast is best”, that natural feeding is better for the baby than formula feeding, etc.
I do not dispute breast milk’s well-known benefits. I also do not neglect the fact that the love hormone, oxytocin, is released during breastfeeding, which contributes to the development of maternal instincts.
As a result, the pressure is affecting the mental health of new mothers to the point that it may lead to postpartum depression.
Despite the intention to breastfeed, some mums are unable to do so. The only other choice is to feed their babies formula milk (manufactured milk designed for babies).
Both methods of feeding babies are very legitimate options to keep your little one full.
When we consider feeding as a form of physical contact with our baby, no scientific evidence supports the notion that exclusive breastfeeding promotes bonding and attachment! Ta-da.
To summarize – any feeding method ensures that both mother and baby remain close and maintain emotional and physical intimacy.
7. Respond To Crying
Crying is a sign of discomfort or upset for a baby. There are always reasons for it – hunger, full nappy, or to cry out for comfort. That is their way of expressing emotions. Most certainly, you will quickly learn to recognize different types of cries and will be able to react appropriately.
Do not ignore the cries! Consider your little one’s crying as an opportunity to attend to her needs, get to know her more, and show her your love and care. In doing so, you will develop a stronger connection with your baby.
On the other hand, ignoring a child’s needs or not responding to crying may make her believe that her needs are not essential and that she doesn’t deserve the parent’s love and attention.
Final Few Lines
It is impossible to overestimate the bond that binds a baby to its parents.
Because of it, the baby is not only happy but also develops better. Building closeness begins early in pregnancy.
With the birth of a child, the parents have a new opportunity to establish a relationship.
Show your baby affection and dedication whenever you can, and you will have a well-nourished, healthy child!
These 7 methods are hopefully helpful to you. I would love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to leave the comment below the post.