There are many reasons why forming a baby bond is important…
As a new mother, you may be wondering exactly when and if you will bond with your newborn. Bonding can start as early as pregnancy and or as late as weeks after delivery. In this article we will discuss the importance of bonding with your baby and ways you can bond both during and after pregnancy.
Bonding occurs when there is a mutual psychological and emotional connection between parents and their newborn child. It is a powerful attachment that forms between a parent and infant. It is an overwhelming sense of love a mother feels for her child; an intense sense of both affection and protection.
There are many reasons why forming a baby bond is important. Scientists believe that creating a close bond between infant and mother may help prevent diseases, enhance IQ, and boost the immune system. Below are some other reasons why it essential to form a baby bond.
- it is essential for healthy emotional development
- enables the child to form secure attachments to other family members and friends
- helps the infant to feel safe and protected.
- helps you baby learn to make eye contact and mimic facial expressions
- allows your baby to have a healthy sense of self
- teaches your baby to trust
- helps them learn to recover from disappointment and loss
- teaches them to openly share their emotions.
Bonding During Pregnancy
While it is true that some mothers feel an instant bond the moment they find out that they are expecting, not all mothers will have that instantaneous sensation. Pregnancy can be a daunting time in your life, filled with confusion and uncertainty. There is no “set” time when you will bond with your unborn child, it varies for every expectant mother. With some mothers, it doesn’t happen until after birth. Do not be discouraged if you don’t feel an immediate baby bond.
Ways to bond with your baby during pregnancy
- Massage your baby: After 3 months of pregnancy it is safe to massage your baby bump. It is safe to use oils such as lavender, mandarin or rose and a great way for both baby and mommy to relax.
- Sing and talk to your baby: The sound of your voice will help your baby feel attached to you after birth. Tell your baby how much you cannot wait until you can hold them in your arms. Sing to your baby. You might feel self-conscious at first, but you will overcome this and enjoy your chats with your unborn child.
- Respond to your baby’s kicks: Rub or pat your bump whenever you feel a kick or movement. It is a great way to communicate with your baby.
- Go for a walk: Exercise is great for both you and your baby. Take a stroll and have a quiet conversation.
- Get picture happy: Frame copies of your baby scans where you can see them. Take lots of pictures of your baby bump. Both of these will help you form a baby bond.
- Keep a pregnancy journal: Keep a journal in which you detail specifics of your pregnancy as well as write love letters to your unborn child.
- Take a yoga class: Yoga classes for pregnant woman can teach you how to relax and focus on your baby.
- Get family and friends involved: Encourage your significant other, offspring, friends and relatives to communicate with your baby as well.
- Take some quiet time to relax for just you and your baby: Set aside quiet time every day for just you and your baby. You both need to rest and relax during this exciting time of growth and development.
- Read to your baby: Research shows that babies begin learning in the womb so it is a good idea to read to your baby. You don’t have to read scientific journals, but reading will also help increase the powerful bond as your baby is soothed by the sound of your voice.
Bonding After Birth
Don’t worry if you don’t feel an instantaneous bond the moment your baby is placed in your arms. Studies indicate that only about 20% of parents feel an immediate connection with their babies. It may take days, weeks or even months so don’t get discouraged. Bonding may not occur immediately if you had a cesarean section, premature birth, if you are suffering from postpartum depression, or in cases where the child is fostered or adopted. It is natural for baby bonding to take time in some instances.
Ways to bond with your newborn
- Spend as much time together as possible: The more time you spend with your baby, the easier it will be for the two of you to form a bond. Take some time for yourself of course, but make sure you are as close too, and as accessible to, you baby as much as possible.
- Breastfeed your baby: When you breastfeed your baby your body releases a hormone known as “oxytocin” or the “love hormone” in your brain and this will enhance your feelings of love and affection towards your newborn. It also teaches your baby to trust and depend on you as well and gives you both that “one-on-one” time you both need to form a loving, trusting bond that can only be shared by mother and infant.
- Baby massage: Massaging your baby will help your baby to relax, increase circulation and releases stress as well as provides an opportunity for intimate bonding between mother and child.
- Wear a baby sling: Not only will this help your baby to feel safe and secure, it will let allow your infant to become familiar with your scent, voice and body movements.
- Cuddling: Cuddling your infant helps duplicate the womb environment and will create a sense of security as well as reduce anxiety for both mother and child.
- Communication: Responding to your baby’s smiles and coos will increase your bond as well as singing and talking to your baby. Verbally communicate with your infant as much as possible.
- Eye contact: Infants can see as far as twelve inches away. Make sure to get lots of eye contact when holding your baby close to increase the baby bond..
- Learn your baby’s signals: Learning your baby’s cues, cries and body language will help you gain your infant’s trust and form a sense of security.
- Routine: Babies thrive on routine. A consistent routine will help increase your bond as well as your baby’s trust. Make sure you have one-on-one quiet time with your baby at a set time every day.
- Be your baby’s primary caretaker: This doesn’t mean you can’t allow those you trust to care for your baby, but in order to fully gain your baby’s trust, you and your partner should be the primary caretakers of your newborn. This is especially important when it comes to feedings.