Baby Bonding – 4 Tips For Developing A Healthy Bond With Your Baby
Bonding isn’t always instant. Many mothers (and fathers) feel a quiet sense of concern if they have not developed an overwhelming urge to nurture their baby within the first few hours after birth. However, it is absolutely normal to develop attachment slowly. Instead of stressing, try these five tips to develop a healthy bond with your baby.
1. Eye contact during feeds
If your baby gazes up at you intensely during feeds, make and hold that eye contact. Newborn babies’ vision only extends to around a foot or two, which is more or less the distance between an infant’s face and it’s mother’s when it is latched to her breast. Scientists have discovered that eye contact during this latch results in more neurological connections being made than at any other time. Your baby is learning communication skills by watching you. Develop a bond by holding that gaze and talking to your baby. You can practice this technique whether you are breastfeeding or using infant formula in a bottle.
Oxytocin is the hormone of love. It helps us to feel close to our babies as much as it helps us connect with our partners. In fact, close contact with another person helps the human body to regulate its temperature, which is why many healthcare practitioners advocate skin-to-skin contact for babies after birth and well into their infancy. It acts as a sophisticated biological function, reassuring the baby that it is safe and loved. The benefits go both ways too. A parent practicing skin-to-skin contact will have the same release of oxytocin and enjoy a sense of closeness with the baby. This marvelous mechanism is built into human biology; we simply have to utilize it.
3. Having a break
Burnout is real. Those early days of parenthood fly by in a haze, and many mothers and fathers get so focused on dealing with each crisis as it arises that there is no time to actually enjoy the new arrival. Indeed, most parent brains enter survival mode during this phase. This results in many parents feeling disinclined to leave their baby, but the truth is, a short break can do wonders. A simple drive to buy groceries or a quiet walk down the road – these basic activities give your brain the opportunity to exit survival mode. When you are back home, you will have missed your little one, and you might feel more capable of enjoying this special time.
Babywearing is a popular parenting trend, but it’s not really new. Rather, this ancient trend is adapting to fit into the modern mom’s lifestyle. Tribes from around the world have always worn their babies on their backs or on their chests by strapping or wrapping the child securely. Now, western moms have started to delight in the wraps and specialized garments that make this method easy. The softness of babywearing gives a far more intimate experience than most baby carriers, enabling mothers to breastfeed discreetly and give their baby the benefits of skin-on-skin contact under their clothes in public. As a bonus, free hands help mom to feel less stressed, enabling her to bond with greater ease.
The hormone responsible for that instant surge of emotion which leads to attachment is also the one that brings on contractions. For women who have cesarean sections, bonding might not come as naturally, but they are not the only ones who may struggle. Entering new parenthood is an intense time, but if you follow the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to developing a healthy bond with your little one.