Feeling a bond 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 child.
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 little one makes a face or smiles for the first time. The bonding between you and your baby will grow and increase over time.
Nursing 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 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.
How Do Babies Bond With Their Parents?
How to bond with your baby
- Skin-to-skin contact is a newborn’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 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.
6 Things You Can Do for Increased Infant Bonding
- Keep baby skin to skin while nursing 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.
- Breastfeeding moms should allow as much comfort nursing as possible.
- 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!
What About Bonding With Daddy?
Most of the above applied to the father as well, but:
- Dad should try to participate. If possible, it’s great if he can catch the baby during delivery and cut the cord.
- Dads can help with bathing and diaper changing.
- Dads can read or sing to babies for sleep times.
- He can carry your little one in a baby carrier or sling.
Making Things Easier for Bonding With Your Baby
- 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 their child the way they feel best. Don’t try to force your partner into doing things your way, let them feel as if they are a great mom or dad; even if you think they don’t always do things perfectly.
- Mother-baby bonding: A mother will be spending a lot of time bonding with her baby, especially if she is nursing she will need some help around the house. Get a helper or get hubby to help as much as possible.
- Take a few weeks off and spend time alone as a family. Take the phone off the hook if you have to!
What Are the Things That May Stand in the Way of Bonding?
- 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 infant. 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.