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Some of us have been blessed with children and the joy that comes from raising a child is unparalleled. When you hold that bundle of joy for the first time, it is common to feel a wave of emotions. It is just as common to feel nothing. We want nothing more, at that moment, than for our baby to be healthy and safe while also promising the best parents we can possibly be. As the days and weeks go by, a bond will be created between you and your baby, one that will remain through the test of time.
Why Bonding With Your Baby Is Important?
Bonding with your child is crucial to your relationship with your child as well as the development of the child. Studies have shown that children who have a healthy bond with their parents feel more safe and secure. These children also, invariably, have higher self-esteem. Some parents bond with their baby within a few seconds of seeing their baby, and others take a bit longer. You should not be too worried if you do not feel the bond immediately as most parents develop this bond as they start to care for their baby.
What If You Don’t Bond Right Away?
The time after your baby’s birth is the time that you must remember to go easy on yourself. Most parents do not immediately feel a bond with their baby and it takes them more time than just a few days. As long as your baby’s basic needs are being met and you cuddle with them, your baby will be fine. New mothers are often surprised at how tired they are and you must not feel guilty if you don’t feel a bond with your baby.
Some mothers might even be suffering from post-partum depression caused by low thyroid levels which makes it understandably harder to bond with the baby. If you are feeling depressed, irrationally irritable, or are having difficulty sleeping, then you must talk to your doctor about these symptoms.
How Does Parent-Baby Bonding Happen?
Bonding between parents and their baby happens in a number of small ways. Looking at your new born, touching their skin, feeding them, all contribute to the bonding process. You can cuddle with them, give them an oil massage, and rock them to sleep. These are all ways to help bond with your baby. It is the several small ways with which you interact and care for your baby that all add up to the bonding experience.
How Long Does The Bonding Process Take?
Bonding is a very individual process and no one parent bonds similarly to another. It can take a few days, weeks, or even months before that special bond is established with your baby. The important thing to remember here is that you must not put yourself under pressure if you are taking time to develop the bond. A delay in bonding is seen when there is a hard labour or a difficult pregnancy as it can leave you exhausted. This is also observed with parents who have babies with health issues that require constant care.
Best Ways To Bond With Your Baby
Bonding with your baby can seem like a high-pressure situation with everyone telling you how important it is to bond immediately. It, also, doesn’t help if you are talking to other mothers who have not had any delay in bonding with their babies. There are a few baby bonding tips that you can follow in order to bring yourself closer to your baby.
The act of breastfeeding involves a lot of skin-to-skin contact with your baby. Your child will also be able to hear your heartbeat and smell you which all adds to the bonding process.
2. Eye Contact
One of the ways in which you can promote bonding is to gaze into your baby’s eye. You should do it during times that make your baby happy like when you are bottle feeding them or when giving them an oil massage.
This activity will bring huge smiles and giggles from your little one while it brings you closer to your baby. More so, it provides your baby the numerous benefits of the oils used for massage.
Stay away from your phone and the laptop. This way you will have more free time and you will be able to spend more quality time with your little one.
Listening to your baby’s heartbeat can be quite the bonding experience which is why you will be made to listen to your baby’s heartbeat during the ultrasound check-ups when you are pregnant.
Getting sleep during the first few months is crucial for your health. You should sleep when your baby sleeps so that you get an adequate amount of sleep.
7. Skin Contact
Spend time cuddling with your baby. Studies have shown that contact with the skin releases endorphins, and these strengthen the bond between the parent and the baby.
Maintain a journal with all important milestones of your baby. The first time they smiled to their first solid meal to their first steps, you can record them all.
9. Read Together
One of the best ways to bond with your baby is to read to them. It is never too early to start this practice and you are bound to find age-appropriate material with which you can have fun. Make funny faces and voices for each character and see your baby’s eyes light up in joy.
You don’t have to be a great singer in order to sing to your baby. Pick a few tunes and sing to your baby especially when putting them to sleep. These songs will remain your special song.
Is It Unusual To Have A Hard Time Bonding With Your Infant?
The simple answer is no. Many parents find it hard to establish a bond with their baby for a number of reasons. You must keep in mind that with time this will resolve on its own. A great resource is to join new parents’ forums or groups where you can swap stories and find support. Listening to other parents deal with bonding with their infant, will make you feel less alone.
There are many issues that could cause a delay in bonding with your baby. Women who have had a C-section with a difficult recovery period, premature labour and even postpartum depression make bonding a difficult prospect. Do not feel guilty and allow yourself time to recover and bond with your baby.
When Should You Worry?
You should feel at least a slight shift in the attachment you feel for your baby after the first couple of weeks. If you don’t then you should talk to your primary healthcare provider as well as your baby’s doctor.
One of the main causes of difficulty bonding with your baby is post-partum depression. This condition is quite common and is observed in around 10% of all births. You must seek help if you face at least five of the following symptoms:
- Hopelessness or extreme sadness
- Incontrollable crying
- A lack of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
- Change in appetite
- Extreme weight loss or gain
- Sluggishness or restlessness
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Post-partum depression, if not treated adequately, can have serious problems later on. You must seek help as it is the best course for both you and your baby.
Bonding with your baby is not an exact science and no two parents bond with their baby in the same exact way. Each parent has their own personal journey with establishing a bond with their baby. Don’t blame yourself if you do not feel an immediate sense of bond with your baby and give yourself time for it to grow naturally.