After many months of anticipation, your baby is finally here. Parenthood is an incredible – and incredibly overwhelming – experience, and one of the crucial parts of these early days is bonding with your new baby.
Some have described bonding as the process of “falling in love” with your baby. You’ll notice that simply staring at them is more compelling than almost anything else, and in most cases, the baby will seem just as fascinated with you. This is a natural thing; you’re effectively designed, on an instinctual level, to want to be around each other.
There’s certainly no one way to bond with your baby. Experts say that simply enjoying each other’s company is enough to strengthen the bond between parent and child. With that in mind, here are some enjoyable ways for you to bond with your newborn baby.
A daily, gentle massage for your infant can be a big benefit during the bonding process, aiding in growth and development. It can also help baby sleep better and could even help the development of their immune system, motor skills, and intellect. But the best part is surely hearing your baby coo with joy.
Swaddling will keep your baby warm and make them feel safe, secure, and comfortable with you. Keep the baby’s arms close to their body within the blanket while leaving some room for them to move their legs. Research has suggested that swaddling a newborn helps them sleep better – which means you sleep better.
For a mom, breastfeeding is a key part of the bonding process, beyond simple nutrition; the baby is close enough to hear your heartbeat and smell your scent, and the snuggling and skin-to-skin contact are incredibly important.
For fathers, this obviously isn’t possible, but bottle-feeding the baby is also an important part of bonding. Maintain eye contact with the baby while feeding them, as it will help them remember you and what you mean to them. Late-night feedings and diaper changes can really help dad bond with the baby.
Read to Them
Reading to your newborn is another great bonding technique. Your newborn will become more familiar with your voice and will find it soothing. And even if they don’t understand what you’re saying, they’ll respond to the rhythms of your voice, and may wiggle their arms and legs in response.
Sing and Entertain
Music connects with us on a deep, emotional level, and can be a great way to bond with your baby. Make a playlist of some of your favourite songs and play them for your baby on a regular basis and sing along. Before you know it the little one will be moving to the music (which is adorable on its own) and will also grow more accustomed to your voice.
Bonding with your baby is important, but overall it should be an enjoyable and organic process. So have fun developing your bond with your little one!