Taking care of a baby is a lot of work. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what needs to be done and forget about just taking time to relax with your new little one. While diaper changes, naps, and feeding are all essential for meeting your baby’s needs, so too is bonding. Forming a bond with your baby is essential for their development and it’s important for you as well.
Look into Your Baby’s Eyes During Feedings
The benefits of breastfeeding are well-known. One of the major benefits is that it helps with mother-baby bonding. Not all mothers can breastfeed and some choose not to do. This doesn’t mean that a mother who bottle-feeds can’t bond with her baby during this time. No matter if you breastfeed or bottle-feed, feeding time is an excellent bonding opportunity. Look into your baby’s eyes. Talk to him or her. Smile. Sing songs. These little actions can let your baby know just how important he or she is to you.
Leave the Phone
It can seem like you’re always holding your baby. It’s easy to get distracted during this time. You might find yourself scrolling through your phone instead of paying attention to your little one. As tempting as the phone can be, put it away. Cuddle your baby, play with him or her, or read a story. Texts and social media can wait until naptime.
Hold Your Baby Skin to Skin
Your baby spends approximately nine months in utero. During this time, he or she was constantly connected to you. Skin to skin contact is important right after birth and can help to establish an initial bond. Even after birth, babies can still benefit from this close contact. Skin to skin can help to calm and soothe your baby. It’s not just for mothers and babies, however. Fathers can also build bonds with their babies this way.
Use a Wrap
Just being close can help build a bond with your baby. Skin to skin is always possible or practical and you may need to use your hands to get something done. In such cases, using Baby Wraps can be incredibly beneficial. A wrap allows you to keep your baby close so that they can hear your voice, breathing, and heartbeat while you have the freedom of using your hands.
Respond to Cries
Contrary to what you might hear, you can’t spoil a baby. Your baby relies on you for their every need. Responding to their needs helps them to build trust and confidence. Over time, you may even begin to learn what their different cries mean, whether your baby is hungry or needs a diaper change.
Sleep Close By
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months of life. These recommendations are to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Sleeping in the same room as your baby also allows you to respond to them in the middle of the night, whether they need feeding or they need their diaper changed.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
To build a strong bond with your baby, you should take care of yourself. Taking even just a little time for yourself can make you happier, which means that you are better equipped to care for your child. Share responsibilities with your partner. Not only will this allow you to give yourself some much-deserved attention, but it also allows your partner to build their bond with the little one as well.
Your baby is only little for so long. Forming a bond is important for their development, allowing them to develop trust and know that they are loved. Some parents don’t bond instantly with their new baby and that’s okay. It can sometimes take a few days or weeks for that bond to begin to form. Don’t be afraid to talk to friends and family members. The bond will come. If you are still having trouble, though, and suspect postpartum depression, speak with your physician or midwife.