Now that you have brought your new baby home it is normal to still feel somewhat detached. This is a crucial time to start bonding with your little one. Bonding is especially important for babies as it gives them a sense of security and allows them to develop better mentally and physically. They don’t have to focus on their worries so much because they are confident that you will care for them.
Bonding with you can be easy for your baby but it may be harder for you as a parent to bond with this new little “stranger” in your life. It is completely normal to feel complete attachment immediately, within days or even much longer than that. For parents whose babies have had to be kept in the NICU or who’ve been adopted it may take even longer to bond. Do not feel guilty about it! Bonding is a process and there is no ETA! Many parents find that Bonding is a result of just plain old everyday care.
Here are some of the best ways to bond with your infant.
1) Kangaroo Care
Kangaroo care is something NICU parents may be most familiar with. It involves skin-to-skin holding of the baby. This allows the baby to absorb your body heat and can simulate the sounds and feelings of the womb. It is very calming for your little one as they can hear your heartbeat.
For parents Kangaroo care stimulates bonding and promotes attachment. It can also increase milk supply in breastfeeding mothers.
For preterm babies it can help them stabilize body heat regulation, heart-rate and respiratory rate. Studies also show that preemies may show decreased stress levels, reduced pain response, increased cognitive development etc… Imagine the benefits for full term infants!
Kangaroo care is truly Magic.
Feeding your baby at all will definitely promote bonding, however, breastfeeding provides a greater bonding opportunity. Did you know that the distance a newborn can see clearly is exactly the distance to your face when they are breastfeeding? This means while you are watching her nurse, you are also most likely the only thing she can truly see. How amazing is that!
Bottle feeding however also gives Daddy the chance to get in on some of babies care. A perfect opportunity for him to get the chance to bond as well.
No matter how you are nourishing your infant, formula or breastfed, this is a great opportunity to just enjoy each others company and get to know one another.
Ok, I will admit it, before I was a mom, I thought baby-wearing was some kind of hippy thing. I didn’t get it. Investing in a great carrier though, not only allows for more time in your day to get things done as baby stays calm and with you but it is also a great bonding opportunity. The closeness of baby-wearing is amazing. This also allows the baby to see from a parents eye view which may help the baby become more in-tune with its environment and the people you come in contact with on a daily basis.
It is recommended as part of SIDs prevention to have baby sleep in the same room as its mother but on a separate sleeping surface until 6 months of age. A bedside bassinet or cradle can keep your new baby close and allow you to respond quicker should the need arise which increases your babies confidence in you. This also allows you to experience all the little sounds baby makes while asleep.
Babies cry to communicate, it is the only way they know to express themselves. Learning to decipher your babies needs and responding to them, as I said previously, teaches him to trust you. The feeling of accomplishment at solving all his needs will help to create an attachment. Remember that babies cannot and do not try to manipulate or act “cheeky”. If they are crying it is because they have a need.
Remember that the bond between you will form naturally, these are just some tips to help you along naturally.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!