7 Ways To Help You Bond With Your Baby
A strong bond between parent and baby will affect how a child interacts, communicates and forms relationships throughout life. Find out how to strengthen the connection.
Bonding is the unique emotional relationship between parent and baby. It is what makes a parent want to instinctively care for and nurture their child. The bonding process can actually begin while you are pregnant. It can start to happen when you feel those first hiccups or little movements. It could also be the first time you see your baby at the ultrasound scan. Bear in mind that bonding takes time so don’t feel guilty or anxious if it doesn’t happen immediately.
Nursing your baby is a lovely way to have skin-to-skin contact with your little one. You can also use the opportunity to gauge your baby’s mood by looking at her facial expressions and body language. Giving your baby lots of TLC and nourishment will help your baby to learn to trust and be comforted by you
2. Keep Talking And Smiling
Babies love to listen to people talking and to your conversations. Talk to your baby when you’re out for a walk, describe the surroundings, tell them what you’re planning on cooking for dinner – babies really enjoy a chat. Try to do all this with a smile on your face – research shows that newborn babies can recognise your voice and a smile.
READ MORE: More The Just A Hug: Benefits Of Physical Contact
3. Makes Faces
You will notice your baby from an early stage imitating your facial expressions and gestures. So make lots of silly faces and smile to your baby as much as you can. You can do this when you’re changing her nappy or during bath time.
Touch is one of the earliest forms of communication for a baby. Mothers and babies are naturally primed to get to know each other as soon as possible after birth – this is why skinto- skin contact straight after birth is so important – research has shown that it helps mothers to release endorphins – the hormones that help you to feel calm and responsive to your baby’s needs.
The practise, sometimes called ‘kangaroo care’, is often used in premature babies, but studies show that it’s also calming to babies born full-term. It not only helps with bonding, but it can also improve your baby’s ability to breastfeed. Skin-to-skin contact is a great way for dads to bond with baby. Other bonding activities could include singing to baby, bathing baby and changing nappies.
5. Sing A Tune
Humming or singing your favourite song can be really relaxing for baby. Don’t worry about how your voice sounds – your little one will love it!
6. A Tender Touch
Massaging your baby can be great for bonding with baby as it encourages the release of your body’s happy hormone oxytocin. Massage helps you to work out how your baby is feeling too. Babies love to be touched and held – massage helps to reduce stress and encourages sleep.
READ MORE: Getting To Know Your Newborn
7. Bonding And Your Baby’s Brain
The attachment bond is an important factor in how your baby’s brain organises itself and affects your child’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. A secure bond provides your baby with an enthusiasm to learn, self-awareness, trust and to consider others.
“When I come from home from work, I like to pick up my seven month old daughter Alice and walk around the house with her sitting on my chest and we have a chat. I also lie her on my legs with her head resting on my knees. She loves it because of the constant contact and the warmth from my body." - Joe Griffin
READ MORE: Bonding Time With Dad
How do you bond with your baby? Tell us in the comments below.