Bonding with your baby is an important part of becoming a new mom, and will lay the groundwork for your relationship with your child throughout his or her life!
What is bonding?
Bonding is that immense feeling of attachment and connection between mother and baby, which develops from the time your newborn is laid in your arms and continues to grow with time. This bond is what motivates you to give your baby endless kisses, shower him or her with love and protect them from harm.
A bond may be formed right away for some mothers, and can take some time for others. The length of time it takes may depend on how much time you spend with your new baby in their first days, researchers have said. However, the connection can happen gradually as your baby grows. Babies who are adopted or separated from their mothers at birth still have the ability to form everlasting bonds.
Why is it important?
Developing a bond between mother and baby is essential to the child’s emotional and mental stability. Babies who have built an attachment to their mothers generally show better socialization skills later in life. Newborns are usually apt to bond with their mothers immediately, but it may take longer for new moms to reciprocate. Especially when a child is adopted or placed in intensive care, mothers may take longer or have a more difficult time creating that connection to their babies.
Fortunately, bonding doesn’t happen in one day. Intense bonds take time to cultivate, and need reinforcement. It can be as simple as day-to-day care, or could need more focused attention. But the first time your baby smiles at you or falls asleep in your arms and you are filled with joy and love – you will know a bond has been created.
Understanding how babies bond
Interacting with your baby is the most effective way to ensure a bond is formed between the two of you. This interaction can be in several forms, and can be different for all babies. Touch, eye contact, facial expressions, talking and singing are all ways to interact with your baby.
Skin-to-skin contact is an essential element of interaction between you and your baby. Touch is an early form of communication for your newborn. He or she will be soothed by your touch, and you may even be soothed by theirs.
Eye contact and facial expressions are also important forms of communication. Your baby will try to imitate your facial movements early on, and will benefit from the close contact.
Talking and singing to your baby are the easiest ways to form a connection. Although your baby can’t respond yet, he or she recognizes your voice and enjoys listening to you. Simply describing objects or talking about your day in a calm voice can sooth your baby and develop a bond.
How to bond with your baby
The best way to bond with your new baby is to just spend time with him or her every day. While snuggling with your baby may come easy, he or she is also a person that you will need to get to know. Day-to-day care will reveal things about them that will help you understand their or personality.
You can also form a bond through skin-to-skin contact, or looking into his or her eyes and talking. Holding your baby against your chest will allow them to feel your heart beat and breathing pattern, which will sooth them. Your baby may also begin to mimic your breaths.
Over time you will learn what comforts your baby and what upsets him or her. This will teach you how to bond with them specifically. Soon enough you will watch his or her first smile, first cooing and first steps, and your heart will be filled with love and joy.