Bonding with your baby is not something that always happens immediately and just as you would need time to get to know the love of your life, you will need to get to know and love your baby.
You may not feel any different, but everyday care-giving will bring you closer to baby, and before you know it, you will be filled with love and joy when your baby makes a face or smiles for the first time. Bonding with baby will grow and increase over time.
Breastfeeding is one of the best ways of bonding with your baby, it not only provides nutrition, but comfort, nurturing and is also a time for mom and baby to study one another’s faces. Breastfeeding also releases oxytocin , which is a love hormone that promotes bonding between mom and baby.
The advantages of bonding with your baby
- Bonding with baby can prevent disease
- Bonding can boost immunity against viruses and bacteria
- Bonding can enhance your child's IQ
- Skin on skin contact has been found to help premature babies pick up as much as 50% more weight than others.
How do babies bond with their parents?
How to bond with your baby…
- Skin-to-skin contact is a baby’s early language and is very soothing and comforting to him. Read more about all the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.
- With facial expressions you can communicate your feelings of love and affection. A bonding baby will start to try to copy these expressions after a while.
- Babies can follow things with their eyes and can communicate and bond through eye-to-eye contact with a parent.
- Babies love to listen to voices and will try to have their own conversations with you.
- Suckling is one of baby’s basic needs and can be used through breastfeeding and bottle-feeding to enhance that special baby bond
Things you can do for increased infant bonding
- Keep baby skin to skin while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding or even just when cradling.
- Use infant massage as a way of skin to skin contact. Read more on infant massage and its calming effects.
- Breastfeed if possible. Breastfeeding helps with the mother bond and babies are found to be calmer even just with the smell of their own mother’s breast milk.
- Become a baby wearer. Babywearing (carrying baby in a sling) has so many benefits including bonding. Read more about baby-wearing.
- Co-sleeping is great for parent infant bonding and makes breastfeeding so much easier. You won’t need to get out of bed or even turn the light on! Read more about co-sleeping here.
- Breastfeeding moms should allow as much comfort nursing as possible. Read more on comfort nursing here
What about bonding with the father?
Most of the above applied to the father as well.
- Dad should try to participate in labour and the delivery of the baby. If possible it’s great if he can catch the baby during delivery and cut the cord.
- Dads can help with bathing and changing baby.
- Dads can read or sing to baby for sleep times.
- Dad can carry baby in a baby carrier or sling.
Making things easier for bonding with your baby
- Mother baby bonding ~ Mom will be spending a lot of time bonding with baby especially if she is breastfeeding, she will need some help around the house. Get a helper or get hubby to help as much as possible.
- Having that first baby is the biggest transition and can be very difficult for a couple to get accustomed to. The only advice I can personally give is to have patience with one another and let each person care for baby the way they feel best. Don’t try to force your partner into doing things your way, let them feel as if are a great mom or dad…even if they don’t always do things perfectly.
- Take a few weeks off and spend time alone as a family. Take the phone off the hook if you have to!
Things that may stand in the way of bonding with my baby
- When the unexpected happens like problems during birth or emergency c-sections. Babies that are premature are also kept away from the parents or kept in an incubator sometimes, limiting the contact and bonding.
- Hormones can have a big impact on bonding. Postpartum depression can numb moms feelings towards baby. It is important that mom continue to take vitamin and omega oil supplements after the birth. Also, breastfeeding releases a feel good hormone and has been found to prevent post partum depression.
- Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. You need to try to get as much rest as possible. Also, make sure you have a well balanced diet.
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