You’re there for every cry, middle-of-the-night feeding, diaper change, and marathon rocking session. Every wiggle, coo, and cuddle from your newborn daughter brings a feeling of closeness and bonding that is exclusive to parents and newborns. That strong emotional connection is what keeps you going when you’re exhausted and rallies you when you’re ready to give up.
Bonding is essential for all babies and they are ready to cuddle from the moment they look into your eyes. For some moms and dads, the connection to child is instantaneous – from the moment she’s born, you feel it. For others, it may take days, weeks or even months. Bonding is a process, so it’s normal for some parents to take longer than others. What’s most important in this process is that bonding does occur. Otherwise, children may develop “failure to thrive”, a condition that can be very difficult to overcome.
or most parents, everyday tasks are part of the bonding process. Changing your daughter’s diaper, singing a lullaby, holding, rocking, and feeding her all provide wonderful opportunities to get close. But for more one-on-one time with her, trying these touching tips!
Basic Bonding 101:
- Go Skin to Skin. Touch is one of the most important ways your baby learns to respond to the world around her. Hold your baby close against your chest. Put your cheek against hers. Let her touch you every opportunity you have. It’s very soothing for you both and helps your child learn and remember her mommy and daddy.
- Bathe with Baby. Sit with her in the tub. Hold her against your skin and gently wash her with a cloth. She’ll delight in being so close to her parents.
- Sling it. Use a baby carrier or sling during the day to tote her around. Not only is this super comfortable for newborns, but it enables her to stay close to you. You also can have your hands free to pursue other activities (like doing those dishes that have been piling up in the sink!).
- Breastfeed. This is a personal decision and one that each mother must make. If possible, breastfeed your baby to provide extra skin-to-skin contact. If you choose to bottle feed, hold her close when you give her the bottle and sing to her.
- Lay with her. Lay down on a soft blanket with her and hold her against you. Relax together. Let her stare into your eyes – literally. Babies love to look at the human face, especially the eyes. They can do it for hours on end.
- Sing it. Sing or talk to her as often as you can. Babies would rather hear your voice than any song you can play for them. Even if you feel your voice isn’t great, your baby will think your Frank Sinatra (or Rhiana for the younger crowd). She doesn’t care as long as it’s you singing to her!
- Talk it Over. Babies can identify their mother’s and father’s voices fairly quickly. She’ll know who’s talking to her and respond positively. Take every opportunity to chat with her. In the grocery store talk with her about what to buy or who’s going to win the World Series. She may not be able to answer you, but she’ll be entertained!
* See article Daddy Bonding >>