Bonding With Your Baby

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 caregiving will bring you closer to your 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. The bonding between you and your 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 mother and baby to study one another’s faces. Breastfeeding also releases oxytocin, which is a love hormone that promotes bonding.

The Advantages of Bonding with your Baby

bonding and breastfeeding, parents
  • Bonding with your 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. Kangaroo mother care is recommended. 

Top of Page

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/her. 
  • With facial expressions, you can communicate your feelings of love and affection. A bonding baby will start 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 might try to have a conversation with you.
  • Suckling is one of a baby’s basic needs and, therefore, breastfeeding can enhance that special baby bond.

Things you can do for Increased Infant Bonding

  • Keep baby skin to skin while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
  • Use infant massage as a way of skin to skin contact. 
  • 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 the benefit of increased bonding. 
  • 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! 
  • Breastfeeding moms should allow as much comfort nursing as possible. 
chubby baby, dad and baby

Top of Page

What about Bonding with Daddy?

Most of the above applied to the father as well, but:

  • Dad should try to participate in 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: A mother will be spending a lot of time bonding with her 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 the 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!

Top of Page

What are the Things that may Stand in the Way of Bonding with my Baby?

  • When the unexpected happens, such as problems during birth or emergency c-sections. Babies that are premature are also kept away from their parents or kept in an incubator sometimes, limiting the contact and bonding.
  • Hormones can have a significant impact on bonding. Postpartum depression can numb a mother's feelings towards her baby. It is important that the mother continue to take vitamin and omega oil supplements after the birth. Also, breastfeeding releases a feel-good hormone and has been found to prevent postpartum depression.
  • Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. You need to try to get as much rest as possible. Also, make sure that you maintain a well-balanced diet.

Comfort Nursing Benefits

Top of Page

Attachment Parenting

attachment parenting, the importance of touch, the importance of breastfeeding

Attachment parenting is a hot topic in the parenting world. There are many critics, and the misconceptions are endless.

For some reason, people seem to believe it's a "new" style of parenting, when in fact it's such a natural, age-old style of parenting. In many parts of the world, people parent in this way, without even being aware that there is a name for it!

Sensitive and Responsive

Babies and very young children can not provide for their own needs and, therefore, they need a parent to take care of them. Or at least a caregiver, in situations where the parent(s) are absent.

Human babies are not born able to walk, talk and feed themselves like many animal babies do. Their entire make-up is designed in such a way, that they attract their mothers. Their mother's WANT to stay close, nurture, protect and feed them.

Those chubby little cheeks, cute tiny nose, beautiful big eyes staring at you, in absolute awe; those features attract a mother to want to take care of her little person, who she grew inside her and gave birth to.

So, what does Attachment Parenting Entail? 

According to Attachment Parenting International (API), the eight principles are as follows:

  • Preparing for pregnancy, for birth, and for parenting. Ensure that you make informed decisions about your baby's birth and beyond. 
  • Feeding with respect and love, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Listen to your baby's feeding cues, and breastfeed on demand.
  • Responding with Sensitivity: respond to your child's hurts and share in their joy. 
  • Using Nurturing Touch: Physical contact is essential. 
  • Ensuring safe sleep physically but also emotionally.
  • Providing consistent, loving care.
  • Practicing positive discipline.
  • Striving for balance in personal and family life.

This style of parenting calls for minimum gadgets. All you as the mother needs, is your body and a baby carrier of some sort.

When your baby co-sleeps with you, a fancy cot is not necessary. But even if you do let your baby sleep in a cot, that is in your room; you will get more rest and sleep. Having to get up to go to another room, to take care of your baby during the night is exhausting.

When you babywear, you do not need bulky prams or strollers. and on top of that, you have your hands free.

When you breastfeed, there's no need for bottles, cleaning and sterilizing equipment, no expensive formula to buy. You lift/open your top, and your baby has an instant feed. Breast milk is the right temperature and perfectly adapted to your baby's needs, at that moment in time.

Joint baths make baby bathtubs unnecessary, but more than that, it provides bonding time. Breastfeeding in the tub is a special time to share together and is often used to encourage a baby to feed and to help with the mother's increased flow of milk, although feeding is not the only way to bond with a baby.

Attachment Parenting Outcome

This style of parenting, contrary to belief, does not produce over attached, clingy children. In fact, children who grow up having their needs met, are the ones who grow into independent, secure adults.

The essence of attachment parenting is that you can follow your natural instincts while maintaining balance in your personal, family and work life.

There is minimal fuss, minimal things bought, with maximum bonding, love and attachment between the existing family and newest arrival.

You get to adapt to life with a baby, and your baby gets to adjust to your life as a new member of the family, gradually and securely.

More information about this natural form of parenting can be found here at Attachment parenting International. 

From Bottle to Breast

by Samantha Jane (Plymouth)

"When I took my beautiful baby Anna back home, I never realized that she would get upset whenever I tried to feed her. I used formula milk with her, but she wouldn't accept it from me. Her daddy could feed her, and even her big sister could feed her, but whenever I tried to give her the bottle, she cried endless tears.

I was so depressed; I did not know what to do. My doctor told me to breastfeed. This surprised me. If she wouldn't take a bottle off me, how would she cope with breastfeeding?

But to my surprise, it worked. The first time around was successful, she drank with no upset, and I gained a lot from this experience and the most important thing a mother can have - a developing bond with her baby!"

Top of Page

What is attachment parenting? Learn more about attachment style parenting at attachment parenting international and get attachment parenting products & attachment parenting homework.

Join us facebook breastfeeding page