Being a new mum is difficult as it is, creating a bond with your newborn baby is a whole new worry. Studies find that 20% of new moms and dads feel no real emotional attachment to their newborn in the hours after delivery. Sometimes, it takes weeks or even months. For moms, this is usually because of the tremendous hormonal changes taking place during, and immediately after pregnancy (including baby blues and sometimes PTSD).
For both, moms and dads, it could also be the initial hassle with the diaper changes, vomiting, crying, and endless sleepless nights. These major changes take longer for some to adjust to and for a few others, it’s a breeze.
However difficult, parents must have significant emotional attachments to their babies. One of the biggest reasons is the impact of neglect on your baby’s mental health in the long run- an increased risk of depression, anxiety, learning, and memory impairments. (1) There’s no need to feel underwhelmed with the lack of initial baby attachment, it takes time and effort for a lot of people. #YouAreNotAlone
Here are the 9 Baby Bonding Tricks we recommend in helping you make a strong bond with your newborn baby.
First thing’s first, make sure you set aside a time for your baby, once a day, every day. Believe it or not, your baby is a creature of habit. When you set a schedule, your baby will feel more at ease, knowing that her/his mum magically knows when they’re about to get hungry, sleepy, or even when they just crave attention. It also makes them feel cared for and understood.
2. A song just for you and junior you
It’s as simple as listening to your favorite song on repeat when you’re around your baby. Be it Beyonce or even Justin Bieber, your child will start to identify the sound and before you know it, you will see your baby bobbing their head back and forth and wiggling to your favorite tune. It’s so cute!
Frequent Eye-Contact may seem funny or awkward in a spectrum of contexts, but that’s not the case when it’s your little one whose eyes, you’re looking into.While you’re bottle-feeding, make sure you look into your baby’s eyes. When they stare back into yours, you’ll just know what you mean to this baby and how much you love them.
Skin-to-skin contact is a highly effective and recommended method of baby bonding. Your baby feels secure, comfortable, and safe while touching your skin. They’re used to the idea that you’re their caregiver and guardian angel- an idea they develop when you’re breastfeeding them or carrying them.
They’re able to recognize your warmth, scent, and skin very early on in their development stages. And let’s face it, it’s a beautiful gesture altogether- cuddling someone you love- a baby, a piece of you, it’s the happiest feeling in the world. In a way, you feel secure too.
5. Acknowledge when they’re crying
This is for those parents who believe that carrying a baby when they’re crying means spoiling them.
It is a hoax. Your baby, however young they are, is going to feel worse with the lack of attention. Comfort stems from the fact that you have someone to acknowledge your sadness/discomfort. Carry your baby, swaddle them, calm them down- make your baby feel like you’re there for them.
6. Speak to your baby
Babies are the best listeners (and yes, it’s because they can’t talk).
You can speak to them about your bad days, good days, insecurities, anything! Your baby loves listening to you speak, and you’ll feel a load off your chest at the end of this conversation. Relish these moments because before you know it, you’ll have them speaking back at you.
7. Be funny
As absurd as it sounds, it is a huge stress-relief for mums that also results in toothless smiling babies.
Stick your tongue out, dance all weird or maybe even babble like a baby. It’s all worth it especially when your baby starts smiling back at you.
8. Baby massage
Never, EVER underestimate the importance of a baby massage. Once again, this has to do with skin-to-skin contact. It also improves your baby’s flexibility; it makes them feel relaxed and the oil you use moisturizes their delectate baby skin. Soon enough, your baby looks forward to it and enjoys it! Make sure to keep eye-contact.
9. Ask an expert
When it’s too difficult for you to handle work life, personal relationships, and caring for a newborn baby, owing to a busy schedule, it is always best to seek help from a professional such as a Midwife who will be there with you through your pregnancy and for the first few months after birth. They’ll be able to help you with baby bonding tricks, sleeping and eating patterns, and other methods of taking care of your baby, making both yours and your baby’s life easier.
Lastly, you can try asking yourself the following questions to empathize with your baby.
> How does my baby see the world?
Your baby’s perspective is entirely different from yours. Their eyes constantly waver, looking and trying to understand new shapes and sizes, people, and more.
> What does my baby like or dislike? and why?
Since babies cannot communicate on their own, they express their feelings through cues like crying or smiling. When they cry, it means that the object of their immediate reaction is making their life difficult. For example, certain babies are susceptible to feeling discomfort with different kinds of fabric. Them crying is an indicator that this fabric is making their skin itch or burn as an undiagnosed allergic reaction. Do not ignore these cues. In social scenarios, your baby may want to stay with you instead of being passed around by family members. Keep an eye out for all kinds of reactions. Happy baby means happy you.
> Am I being flexible?
Your life patterns may not match your baby’s. And that is completely normal. Adjust.
“Many parents struggle to build a relationship with a newborn who can barely make eye contact, let alone communicate in a way to build a close relationship,” says Chuck Schaeffer, Ph.D., reproductive psychologist.
“As long as you’re having fun and feeling happy around your kid, he’ll feel happy and safe, and bonding will naturally occur.” (2)
Always remember that time is the main player in this game of forming an attachment with your newborn baby. Be patient, calm, keep trying, and it will happen. In gist, love, support, and time with your baby are all it takes to build attachments between the two of you.
Feel free to contact Emirates Home Nursing for your Newborn Care needs.
Click on this link, to learn more about our Midwifery and Newborn Care Services.