Why is Bonding So Important?
- It is essential for healthy emotional growth
- It is what causes parents to want to care for and respond to their baby
- It promotes trust between the baby and caregiver
- It enables the growing child to develop secure attachments to friends and other family members
- It helps them to feel safe and protected
Children who Develop Secure Attachments:
- Show more curiosity about their environments
- Do better in school
- Can better handle life’s ups and downs
- Are more independent
- Have better self esteem
- Are more sensitive to the feelings of others
- Learn to feel that the world is a safe and wonderful place to explore
- Form stronger relationships
How Do You Bond With Your Baby?
- Touch is the number one way in which a parent can bond with their baby
- Hold your baby close, gently stroke their body, and put your baby’s skin directly against your own.
- Make eye contact. Look directly into your baby’s eyes and they will certainly return your gaze. Babies can see when they are born, but they are very near-sighted. They can focus the exact distance from your face when you cradle them during feeding!
- Smile and make other pleasant facial expressions
- Talk, sing and read to your baby. They love to hear your familiar voice.
- Take a bath together.
What if I Don’t Feel All Those Mushy Feelings?
- Don’t feel as if you are a bad parent. There are many factors that can affect the bonding process. For instance, having a very rough labor and delivery, having an unplanned cesarean section, if your baby is pre-mature and can’t be held or fed by you immediately, an outpouring of hormones, or a lack of a good support system.
- Bonding is a process and not all parents feel ‘love at first sight.’ Give it some time. As you spend time meeting your baby’s needs you will become more comfortable with your role as a parent.
- If you still do not feel connected to your baby by your first doctor’s visit, talk with your physician about it. You may be experiencing postpartum depression. They are very experienced with this problem and can offer many treatment options.