Developing a bond with your baby happens at a different pace for every new mom. This biology of love occurs minutes to months after birth. Mothers might feel guilty when a bond isn’t established right away, but research has found that it takes place over time. If a bond has yet to be established, the most important thing a mom can do is take care of her basic needs. While caregiving is the best way over time to bond with her, here are some other tips to develop that unconditional love and attachment.
The Power of Touch
Human touch is not only soothing to baby, there are several ways you can provide a loving connection through the skin.
- Give baby a massage
- Breastfeed baby
- Adorn her with kisses
- Listen to her heartbeat
- Provide skin-to-skin contact, also known as Kangaroo care - holding your baby close, with your skin next to theirs for 30 minutes in a calm, quiet place
Establish Love through Sight
Your baby wants to see your smiling face as much as you want to see hers. Establishing eye contact is important because it helps her to remember who you are. Here are some ways you and baby can get some important face-to-face time.
- Look into babies eyes while bottle-feeding
- Use a sling or front baby carrier and look down at her often
- Spend some time in front of the mirror together
- Get silly and smiley with some close-up facetime
Respond to Her Cries
Picking her up when she cries, especially during the first three months helps build trust. This will change later on as she grows older but in the beginning, she needs to feel safe and taken care of.
Read, Play, Love
Having a stuffed animal meet and greet and introducing baby to Goodnight Moon not only helps with bonding, it stimulates brain development. She listened to your voice nine months in the womb. Continue the tradition by letting her hear your voice as you read, sing, and play peek-a-boo with her. You can also introduce sensory play. Because babies learn through touch, have her grab a variety of different textured materials. Talk about the hard and soft, warm and cool, rough and smooth items she’s feeling to add to the interaction.
Other Helpful Bonding Tips
- Put down the phone -- don’t waste the precious time you could be spending with her
- Don’t forget about dad! He needs bonding time too with mom and baby. She’ll pick up on the bond her parents share with each other, so be sure to keep up the romance, sweet gestures and date nights
- Don’t feel guilty about sleeping when she does, babies benefit from well-rested mothers, and more rest will help you handle the new stress of motherhood.
Bonding with her can be a challenge but remember to enjoy the time you’re spending with her and stop stressing. You’re building a life-long relationship that takes time. As you look back, you’ll want happy memories of your baby to cherish forever.