Making Eye Contact With Your Baby
Your baby can see in black, white and grey from birth 7 and can focus on things less than 25 cm away. Thats near enough for her to see your face when breastfeeding she might even make eye contact with you for a few moments. In the early days your baby will be breastfeeding very frequently, so youll be experiencing this intimate connection multiple times a day.
Enveloped By Postpartum Depression
PPD is serious business. This isnt just the baby blues and its not something that any mother should ignore. Postpartum depression is characterized by severe sadness, feelings of hopelessness, excessive moodiness, anxiety, crying for no known reason, losing interest in things you may have found enjoyable in the past, physical aches and pains that have no medical explanation and withdrawing from loved ones.
In some cases women think about harming themselves or their babies.
While the cause isnt entirely clear, its likely that it has to do with hormonal changes during and after pregnancy combined with the stress of being a new mother. PPD typically persists, and wont go away after a few days or weeks . The depression, anxiety and complete hopelessness that some moms feel puts a wall up between them and those around them including the baby. PPD can make it challenging, to say the least, to bond with the baby.
Between the lack of bonding and all of the other symptoms , its important to get help for PPD right away. If you feel like you may have this condition or you know someone who is showing the signs, contact a qualified professional for further evaluation. There are ways to the pros can help you to work through this tough time.
When Should You Start Preparing Emotionally
On some level, you start preparation the moment you decide you want to have a baby. For some, bonding starts during pregnancy. This is not always the case, and thats okay. Do the best you can to mentally prepare yourself for the impending change. There is a vulnerability that comes with being a new parent you will find yourself in new situations with someone youre just getting to know, and it can be challenging, frustrating and scary. The learning curve of parenthood is inevitable, but bonding with your child is an important part of that. And while the emotional preparation looks a bit different in a surrogate pregnancy, of course, that doesnt change the ultimate bond youll have with your child.
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How To Bond With A Baby:
Building a strong bond with your newborn baby is simple. Activities that can help establish a bond with your newborn include:
- Regularly touching, cuddling, and holding your baby
- Responding to your babys cries and fussiness
- Talking and using soothing or reassuring tones with your baby
- Making facial expressions and eye contact as you communicate or hold your baby
- Singing songs
What Is Secure Attachment
Attachment or the attachment bond is the unique emotional relationship between your baby and you, their primary caretaker. It is a key factor in the way your infants brain organizes itself and how your child develops socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. The quality of the attachment bond varies.
- A secure attachment bond stems from the wordless emotional exchange that draws the two of you together, ensuring that your infant feels safe and calm enough to experience optimal development of their nervous system. Secure attachment provides your baby with the best foundation for life: an eagerness to learn, a healthy self-awareness, trust, and consideration for others.
- An insecure attachment bond, one that fails to meet your infants need for safety and understanding, can lead to confusion about their own identity and difficulties with learning and relating to others in later life.
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Why Does Bonding Sometimes Take Longer
Having a baby is overwhelming. It is a physical and emotional marathon. New parents have to adjust to a lot of changes and it can take awhile to process everything. Here are a few of the things that can make bonding a challenge. Remember that these are things that can make bonding harder, but not impossible. Talking with somebody about your feelings can help.
- Bonding starts to happen as we make eye-to-eye contact, watch our babies respond to us, or snuggle. Many parents say that some of their favorite moments are rocking their baby to sleep at night when it is quiet and there is nobody to interrupt.
- Wearing your baby or kangarooing is a great way to promote bonding. Infant massage is also a good way to help you and your baby relax and spend time together.
- For many, breastfeeding is a wonderful time to bond and it naturally releases hormones that encourage bonding. If you are having problems with breastfeeding at first, dont get discouraged. A lactation consultant can help you through some of the rough patches.
- Find ways to make your life less overwhelming, whether that is cutting back on social activities or giving yourself permission to slide on the housekeeping and meal prep.
Dads need to bond too. Being there for labor and delivery, helping with diaper changes and feeding, reading and singing, giving baths, kangarooing, and baby wearing are all ways that a father can bond with his baby.
The Babies Health
Plan The Nursery Together
Planning the nursery can be so fun! You can keep it simple or go all out it is up to you. Take the time together to set up the crib, pick out a glider, etc. Let him have a say in the room.
Letting him be a part of the process will make him feel more included and get him ready for when your baby makes their appearance!
Once the baby is born:
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Bonding With Your Newborn Baby
If you are reading this article, you are more than likely expecting a baby or have recently delivered first and foremost, congratulations! Parenthood is an exciting journey that is unparalleled by any other you will ever take. This baby will certainly change your life in many ways, beginning with the first time that you lay eyes on one another!
If this is your first baby, please take a deep breath and know these two important things:
First-time moms are especially prone to worry about various things related to those first few days and weeks of infancy but, please know your childs pediatrician is here to help you along the way, from the moment you first hold your new baby in your arms. This is why it is especially important to pick your childs pediatrician before you actually have the child or during your pregnancy. The third trimester is usually the recommended time to pick the physician who will be your resource and advocate for everything from breastfeeding to soothing a baby with colic.
Once you have your baby, you will likely develop a strong, unique and inseparable bond with your new son or daughter.
What is bonding?
Bonding is a connection or attachment that you will feel towards your newborn. It is the same force that will bring tears to your eyes when you see your baby cry. You may want to take away all of his/her grief and replace it with laughter.
When does it happen?
Oxytocin: Vital For Breastfeeding And Bonding
Adjusting to motherhood can be daunting, but did you know those precious skin-to-skin moments are soothing for you as well as for your baby?
During skin-to-skin, youll release a powerful cocktail of calming hormones, including oxytocin often referred to as the love hormone or cuddle chemical. Released whenever youre close to your newborn, and even when you simply smell her or think about her, this clever hormone helps you adjust to motherhood in a number of ways. It enhances your mothering behaviours things like caressing, making eye contact and using affectionate language.4
It also has anti-anxiety and anti-depressive properties, and may help protect against postnatal depression.5 Its also thought that early release of oxytocin primes your brain for breastfeeding your baby, as well as stimulating your breasts to make milk.6
Youll also release beta-endorphin, a hormone that encourages you to respond to your babys needs. Dont be surprised if the urge to soothe her when she cries is overwhelming at times this is a normal maternal instinct. Beta-endorphin also creates feelings of pleasure and calmness.3
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Responds To Your Voice
Your baby has been able to hear for some time now. Even in your womb, hes been able to hear all the sounds around your pregnant tummy, although theyve been a bit muffled until now. The most familiar sound to him has probably been your heartbeat as well as the sound of your breathing and your digestive system moving along. This is probably why he calms down so much when you bring him close to your chest and he can hear your heartbeat.
But that isnt the only sound your baby has been able to hear. Your voice will, of course, be very familiar to him. You will find that he responds to it. When you speak to him, hes somehow more alert and in a great mood. He knows its a familiar voice that means good things, that wouldnt harm him in any way.
When hes a bit older, you may even find that he follows your voice when you move!
Why Is It Difficult For Some Parents To Bond
Its 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 .
- 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 .
- 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. Its okay if it takes time for new parents, and eventually, you will be able to create a healthy attachment with your tiny tot.
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Bonding With More Than One Carer
Babies form their main attachments to the people who care for them most especially their parents. Your baby can also form attachments to other people who regularly and lovingly care for your baby and make them feel safe. These people might include your babys grandparents, paid carers and older children.
Bonding to more than one person helps your baby learn about trust and closeness to people. It can also make it easier for you and your partner, if you have one, to do other things, like paid work, grocery shopping and household chores. It can also just give you a break.
In many cultures, many members of the family and community are involved in raising children, and babies form attachments with many people.
Who Do Babies Form Attachments To
Babies usually attach to their main caregiver, but they can certainly bond with other people.
It’s usual for a baby to attach to their mother, since by month 8 of her pregnancy, a baby can recognise and be soothed by the mother’s voice while in the womb. By the time they’re born, newborns can even recognise some sounds of their mother’s native language.
The father, grandparents and significant childcare workers can also bond with a baby. This is particularly important if a mother is finding it difficult to form an attachment, is depressed, or there is some other reason why she can’t pay full attention to her baby.
If you are the baby’s mum, and they form attachments with other important people, this does not mean your baby will be less attached to you. It helps your baby to learn about being close to people.
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The Importance Of Bonding With Your Baby
A parents bonding with a newborn is perhaps the most critical thing that can happen after a child is born. It creates an attachment between parents and children that is essential to survival and the well-being of both parties.
Parent-infant bonding is, in many ways, an instinctual process. A strong attachment is necessary to the survival of a child who cannot fend for him or herself. Its this bond that allows parents to get up in the middle of the night to feed their child and pay attention to their babys every cry.
Bonding and attachment with babies also offers an emotional benefit. An infant bonding with a father and mother provides the first model for a childs intimate life relationships and fosters a sense of security and positive self-esteem. Successfully bonding with a newborn baby often sets the stage for the family members parent-child relationships moving forward.
Tip : Eating Sleeping And Opportunities For Secure Attachment
Many of your babys early signs and signals are about the need for food and proper rest. Increasing the frequency of feedings or adding in some extra time for rest where appropriate can make a big difference in your babys ability to engage and interact when awake.
Without proper rest, a baby cannot be calm and alert and ready to engage with you. Babies sleep a lot , and their sleep signals will come more often than you might expect. Often, babies who are overtired can act hyper-alert and move frenetically. You might mistake this energy for an invitation to engage, but really, it is your babys way of saying that naptime should have been 30 minutes ago.
Hunger will also be the cause of many early cues from your baby. Schedules are helpful, but growth spurts and developmental changes may cause your babys needs to change every few weeks so it is helpful to pay close attention to their unique signs and signals.
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