It’s magical! The bond new mothers and fathers share with their newborn is extraordinary. Bonding is the intense attachment and unconditional love that develops the moment you look into the baby’s twinkling eyes, touch their super soft fingers, and hold the little bundle of joy in your arms. While most of the parents bond with the tiny buns instantly, it may take a bit longer for a few of them. You don’t have to worry, it is temporary and gets better with time.
Keep reading this post as we share the importance of bonding and ways to bond with the newborn.
Importance Of Bonding With Baby
Bonding between parents and the newborn is essential for a baby’s emotional, physical, and psychological development. It sets the right foundation for the child’s well being. Bonding is a steady process that takes time. It gives a sense of protection to the little one and develops an attachment.
When you smile, hug, touch, and even talk to the newborn, they start understanding your love, affection, and care. With time, they develop thought, language, and memory. Newborns depend entirely on their parents to cuddle, give them warmth, and fulfill their needs. Rocking them to sleep, touching them, looking into their eyes, and feeding them builds a rapport and communication that strengthens the bond.
Some parents may experience delayed or slow bonding with their babies. That’s a temporary phase, and we tell you about it in the latter part of the article. Keep reading to know about a few ways to improve the bonding of parents well with their little ones.
Ways To Bond With Your Baby
Mothers and fathers can incorporate these ways into their routine and notice improved bonding with the baby.
1. Skin-to-skin contact
Your baby can feel and sense your touch. Keeping them constantly close to you helps to relax and calm. You can cuddle your baby, hold hands, rock on the back, and hold to your chest — all these releases oxytocin, which reduces stress levels, maintains heart rate, and stabilizes body temperature (1) (2).
According to the American Psychological Association, babies who were breastfeeding longer have shown maternal sensitivity (3). It keeps your baby close to you, nourishes them, and senses your touch, smell, and sound. Soothe talking while breastfeeding also comforts the baby, thereby developing a positive bond.
3. Baby massage
Massaging is a natural way to develop a sense of eye contact and touch that improves the bonding between a baby and mother. Regular massaging improves the weight and mental-motor development of the child. It also regulates the baby’s respiration and sleep, and reduces stress and colic (4).
4. Talk and sing
Talking and singing help a baby connect positively with the parents. More than talking, singing improves the overall health, enhances social bond, and keeps the baby calm. In fact, babies are known to recognize their mother’s voice earlier than they identify face (5). Even the father can do the same and connect well with the little one.
5. Baby wearing
Keeping your baby close by wearing them in a carrier, wrap, or sling calms the baby, regulates heat, maintains breathing and heart rate, thereby promoting bonding (6). It also helps the baby identify your smell and touch, and they know you are always there for them. Both mother and father should wear the baby to improve the parent-baby bond.
6. Eye contact and smile
When mothers and fathers smile, looking at the baby, and making eye contact when talking to them creates a meaningful and special bond and makes the baby understand what parents are trying to say. Eventually, babies also learn to communicate with their parents.
7. Rock and dance
Babies identify rhythmic sounds and music. According to a study, musical therapy improves the baby-parent interaction to a great extent. They clap, make leg movements, sway, and try to dance. You can rock your baby when sleeping, bounce on a ball, soothe, and play with them to improve bonding.
8. Make routines
Babies identify the routines. For instance, when you have set feeding time, playing time, or singing time, they tend to get along with it. They react and make movements to tell you something. Examine their behavior and understand them. Figure out what they like and dislike. And soon, your bonding will develop.
9. Sleep with the baby
When babies sleep with mothers, they have a calming effect. They feel protected even when they wake up at night. And touching and breastfeeding your baby when they are sleeping or falling asleep, develops positive bonding.
Why Is It Difficult For Some Parents To Bond?
It’s absolutely okay if you are unable to connect with your baby immediately. As already said, bonding is a process, and some parents may take days, weeks, or even months to get attached to their baby.
- Postpartum depression is one of the reasons affecting the bond between mother and child. When she is depressed, she might be neglecting herself and may not connect emotionally with her child (7).
- Painful and exhaustive labor for some women could be a reason for delayed bonding. Long labor and stressful time are tiresome, and it may take some time to connect with the baby.
- Less sleep and breastfeeding could be responsible factors affecting the bonding between mother and baby (8).
- Some times when the person is not mentally and financially ready to take the responsibility of child but have the baby for reasons such as keeping the marriage in tact.
Spend as much time as possible with your little one as they need you to be around. Hug your baby, give kisses, and shower affection and love. It’s okay if it takes time for new parents, and eventually, you will be able to create a healthy attachment with your tiny tot.
2. R. Moore et al.; Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants; US National Library of Medicine (2014)
3. M. Weaver; Bonding Benefits of Breastfeeding Extend Years Beyond Infancy; American Psychological Association (2017)
4. Gürol’s; The Effects of Baby Massage on Attachment between Mother and their Infants; Asian Nursing Research (2012)
5. Suttie; Why Parents Sing to Babies; Berkeley University of California (2016)
6. B. Moran; Keeping Them Close: A Qualitative Examination of Mothers’ Perceptions, Motivations, and Experiences with Babywearing; University of Tennessee (2017)
7. Depression during pregnancy and after; Harvard Health Publishing (2017)
8. Cabotage; Why bonding with your baby can be surprisingly difficult; University of Washington (2019)