7 Tips to Promote Bonding with Baby
Bonding is defined as “the relationship that begins at the time of birth which establishes the basis for ongoing mutual attachment.” Bonding with baby is important for her cognitive and social development and results in more calm and less stress for both baby and her parents. But what if that bond doesn’t come naturally for you? Try some of these tips:
Tips for bonding with baby
- Share a room. If possible, share a room in the hospital with your baby. Sleeping in the same space will give you time to get to know each other, and if you get overwhelmed, the hospital staff is close by to step in and help.
- Make feeding time count. Whether you decide to breastfeed or bottle feed, feeding time with your baby is a time when bonding feels natural. Hold your baby close and stroke her soft skin and hair. Make eye contact with your baby while she eats to help her feel secure.
- Utilize skin-to-skin contact. Also called kangaroo care, skin-to-skin offers a host of benefits, such as an increased desire to breastfeed and a chance for bonding with baby. Your infant will learn to recognize your scent and feel the more you do skin-to-skin.
- Spend quality time. At home, try to spend as much time as you can with your baby. Rock her gently, show her around the house or introduce her to her toys and books, even if she can’t touch them yet. You can wear baby in a sling or front carrier to keep her with you during routine activities at home, or you can put her in the stroller and go for a walk together.
- Use your voice. Babies are very responsive to human voices. Sing baby a song, talk to her about your day or describe the things around her.
- Have a support system. Bonding with baby is easier if you aren’t worried about all the other household tasks getting neglected. Arrange for help with laundry, meals, and other housework so that you can spend time taking care of your baby. It’s helpful to have others close by for emotional support, as caring for a newborn can be stressful!
- Dads can bond, too. Even though it seems like moms get more baby time at first, it is just as important for dads to be involved. Let baby feel the different textures of your face, talk to her, and mimic her sounds and expressions.
Not everyone bonds immediately
While it’s true some parents form an attachment with their babies shortly after birth, not every parent forms a bond right away with a newborn baby. Forming a close relationship with anybody can take time, and the same is true with your newborn baby. Bonding can’t be forced or rushed. Often an attachment forms over time while caring for your baby day after day. Just keep providing for her basic needs and giving her plenty of affection, and bonding with baby will come.
There can be situations that make bonding with baby more difficult, such as a preemie baby spending time in the NICU, or the emotional rollercoaster of postpartum depression. But one day, perhaps when your baby smiles for the first time or coos in her adorable baby way, you might realize that you are filled with joy and love and that you have finally bonded with baby.
What are some of your favorite ways to bond with your baby? Share below!