Holding your baby for the first time can be an experience like no other. One where you feel overwhelming love, an intense attachment and a desire to protect your new child. For many mothers, this process of bonding with their baby comes naturally, but there are plenty for whom this is a more gradual process that takes place over time.
This can often be the case during a difficult delivery where many mothers need time to recover from the ordeal of childbirth before they can give their full attention to their child. Postpartum depression, also known as ‘the baby blues’ can also delay bonding between mother and child. These feelings of sadness affect up to 80% of new mothers, but usually improve within one to two weeks of giving birth.
The bonding process helps babies to feel safe and secure and sets the stage for them to form healthy relationships with others throughout their life. In this article, we have provided some tips to help you form a healthy and loving bond with your newborn.
Holding your baby close to your skin is important for bonding to occur between you both and can be especially beneficial after delivery. The practice of skin-to-skin contact is where your newborn is placed belly-down, directly onto your bare chest for at least an hour, while covered in a warm blanket.
According to research, skin-to-skin contact encourages emotional and social development in a child as well as many other benefits including better absorption and digestion of nutrients, a more stable heartbeat and breathing, higher blood oxygen levels, improved brain development and a stronger immune system.
Even if you do not manage to do this straight after delivery, babies can still benefit from skin-to-skin contact for at least three months after birth.
Let your child know you are there by communicating with them throughout the day. Whether it’s talking, reading, singing while playing music to your child, they will feel comforted by the sound of your voice and actions such as gently stroking their head, gazing into their eyes and loving facial expressions can all reassure your baby and provide a sense of safety and comfort for them.
Carrying your newborn in a sling or baby carrier, such as the Carus Complete from Diono, can help your baby to feel your warmth and scent, helping them to bond with you while you go about your day.
Play With Your Baby
Games are a fun way to bond with your newborn while aiding their mental and social development. Playing together can help you and your baby get to know each other and for your child to recognize and understand different facial expressions.
Many parents like to pull faces, make silly noises or play peek-a-boo games to make their babies laugh. Cooing and mimicking the noises your child makes is another great way for them to play while learning about communication responses.
Some other play ideas include gentle tickling, blowing raspberries or counting your baby’s toes. Singing nursery rhymes, lullabies and traditional songs in your own language can also help your child to feel close to you.
By following the guidance in this article, you can help to forge a close bond between you and your baby.