Whether you have found bonding with your baby very easy or you are not sure where to start, the following tips should give you some useful pointers for developing one of the most important relationships in your life.
Bonding with your baby in the womb
If you are looking to bond with your baby, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start while it is in utero. Stroking your tummy, talking to your baby or even putting on calming music are all ways that you and your baby can enjoy chilling out together before birth.
Get lots of skin-to-skin time
Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, bathing or cuddling, knowing that you are nearby will help your baby feel reassured. Your scent, your warmth and the very touch of your skin will all be strong indicators to your baby that are they with the person they most need to be with.
Bathe with your baby
Bath-time can be a wonderful time for bonding with your baby. Whether you are resting them back in their own baby bath and speaking to them in soothing tones or bathing with them skin-to-skin, bath time can be a marvellous opportunity to just enjoy being together.
Making eye contact with your baby
Whether you are stroking your baby to sleep or rocking them when they are crying, making eye contact can be one of the most powerful ways to reassure and bond with your baby. A steady, loving gaze shows that you are calm and unconcerned, in turn helping your child feel comforted and secure.
Watch for responses
Another advantage of making regular eye contact with your baby is that you can keep track of their facial expressions and quickly learn their likes and dislikes. From a gurgley smile to that fraught pre-scream face, you can rest assured your baby will let you know very quickly what works for them.
Getting attuned and learning to understand your baby’s cries
It’s not just facial expressions that can help you work out your baby’s state of mind. Getting attuned to the different ways your baby cries can also help you understand what they need from you. By learning your baby’s ‘language,’ you can develop a unique bond that truly enables you to respond to your baby’s needs.
Develop your own baby code
As well as listening to your baby’s ‘language’, you can also create a ‘code’ of your own to help set your baby’s expectations. For example, if you get into the routine of a doing a particular kind of rocking before bedtime or a particular kind of cooing chatter to reassure your baby that all is well, they can quickly get attuned to the ‘messages’ that you are giving them.
Bonding with your baby still a struggle?
Finally, if you are worried that you are struggling to bond with your baby, don’t panic. Often it can take a good couple of weeks to start feeling comfortable with a new baby – after all, a little person can make big changes to the way you live your life.
However, if after a few weeks, you feel that you have not properly bonded, you may want to visit your doctor to see if you are suffering from Post Natal Depression.
The important thing is not to feel pressured by the myths surrounding having a newborn. If you don’t feel that you can bond with your baby, there are plenty of people you can talk to about your feelings and experience.
What’s more, bonding with a child doesn’t just happen in their earliest months – it happens all their life – so there is plenty of time to build that special rapport just between you and them.