Some parents instantly look at their newborn baby and from this moment they feel an instant bond with their new child. On the other hand, other parents do not feel that deep sense of attachment to their baby straight after birth and it can take a little longer to develop that bond with their baby.
In fact not developing an instant bond with your baby is not as uncommon as you would think.
Sometimes a difficult birth or feeling particularly stressed or tired after your birth can alter your affection towards you baby. Additionally, some parents who have premature babies can find it difficult to bond with their babies because they have to stay in the neonatal unit for a period after birth.
Regardless of whether you instantly feel a connection with your baby or not, you and your baby are both meeting each other properly for the first time and so it’s only natural that you will need some time to build your relationship with each other. Read on to see some of mama mio’s recommendation on how to bond with your baby.
Often referred to as ‘kangaroo care’, skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways for a newborn and their parent to develop a relationship with each other.
10 minutes of skin-to-skin contact has been proven to reduce babies stress hormones (cortisol) and increase their ‘love/cuddle hormones’ (oxytocin) which helps to make them feel safe and calm in your care. Similarly, the parent holding the baby will also get a surge of the same ‘love hormones’ after this skin-to-skin contact.
Kangaroo care also helps to regulate an infant’s body temperature, let them listen to your heartbeat and also familiarise themselves with your natural scent. These are all great ways for your baby to get to know and recognise you
Nurse your baby
Breastfeeding is one of mother nature’s ways of getting a mother and baby to instantly start developing a relationship with each other. The suckling action of a baby can increase the love hormones in the mother which enhances the mother’s feelings of love and affection towards their baby.
For mums that cannot breastfeed then don’t despair. Whilst you may not get the hormonal reaction from breastfeeding your baby, you will still be able to develop a bond as you feed your baby. When you nestle them into feed them they will be able to smell your scent and they will start to associate this scent with a person that nurtures them and provides them food.
Regardless of how you feed your baby, use this time to make eye contact with each other and read each other’s facial expressions and body language. This is a great time to get to know each other and get positive feedback from each other.
Give your baby a massage
Baby massage is a great way to bond with your new baby. Not only does it affirm the security and attachment with your baby but regular massage can also help your baby’s muscles to relax and help them sleep better.
Massaging your baby is also a great way for you to learn how to read your baby. Look for cues from you baby as they bwill tell you what they like and dislike and what makes them smile or giggle.
Speak and smile with your baby
Smiling and joking around with your baby will help to make your baby feel safe and secure and increase that positive feedback loop of re-assurance, comfort and attentiveness between both of you.
Speaking and smiling to your baby can also help develop your baby’s brain development and communication skills, even if they don’t understand you at this stage.
Developing a bond with your newborn should be a happy time and if you don’t feel that you are not connecting with your baby then you seek advice from your midwife or physician to see if they are able to help you identify any problems in your ability to bond with each other.