Five ways to help you bond more with your bub
Author: Jasmine Vanstone Date Posted:28 May 2017
It seems every picture of a newborn with their mum has them looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, and if we look close, it's almost as if there is soft music is playing in the background and the room is rose scented. In other words, perfection.
But the reality is that most of us are exhausted, the baby is often crying, and the room is anything but rose scented. So we feel guilty - and like a failure (thank you false advertising!)
But the truth is some of us don’t feel that expected bond for days, weeks or even months and that is okay! Caring for your baby is forever so taking the time to get into the bonding groove will be a blink of an eye in the long term.
What is bonding?
The term “bonding” refers to the attachment a new parent has with their child, where we immediately feel nurturing, caring and love for our baby. It is the innate quality that has us jump up in the middle of the night at the slightest whimper or sound from their cot.
According to Dr Hernandez-Rief’s book, Infant Behavior and Development, “Bonding is an important human instinct that gives babies a sense of security and self-esteem. Bonding also helps parents feel connected to their newest family member.”
I’m just not connecting, now what?
The first and most important this to do is relax and know this is okay. Putting more pressure on yourself to bond and feel connected not only makes you feel worse, and your baby will pick up on your frustration and likely react, adding more frustration and confusion into the equation.
Remember, bonding happens in many ways and many forms. And while you might not immediately ‘feel’ overwhelming love or connection, the care you give your baby – feeding him, bathing her, gently stroking their back and cradling them in your arms to sleep is a form of bonding for both of you.
Tips to help you and your baby bond
- Spend as much time in contact with your baby as possible – rock them to sleep, carry in a sling while going about your day or simply touch them softly, so there is connection
- Sing to your baby – the gentle sound of your voice while holding them close will remind them you are the same person who nurtured them inside your womb. This gives your baby a sense of calm and caring which can often translate to your own feelings
- Hold your face close to your baby – your bub’s eyesight allows them to focus only around 20cms away, so the world is blurry beyond this distance. Facial recognition is important for both of you, especially if you’ve had a premmie or adopted your baby.
- Relax and take care of yourself – lack of sleep, healing your body post-partum and accepting your new 24/7 reality are all mentally and physically exhausting so give your mind and body a rest whenever possible
- Ask for help – you and your baby will be happier if you take a break when it all becomes too much.
Bottom line to bonding: Keep loving your baby and yourself – Love is a verb and the more we do it, the sooner we feel it, and your inevitable bond with your baby will be your greatest love.