Bonding with a newborn is essential for the well-being of the parents and the child. According to the National Library of Medicine, a child’s brain, social, emotional, and cognitive development depends on their bond with their parents.
Bonding is the formation of an emotional connection between you and your baby.
Just as you might be new to parenting, your child is new to the world. They want to get to know you and learn to trust you. Bonding allows for that to happen.
Once a connection and attachment are established, your child will feel safe, comfortable, and loved by you. Qualities that allow for their emotional and psychological development. As a parent, the connection improves your instinct, so you go an extra length to provide the comfort, security, and love your little one deserves.
Bonding with your newborn allows for the development of unconditional love, which happens gradually. For some parents, it’s instant, while for others, it takes time. But that’s nothing to fret about.
This article will explore ways to bond with your child to establish a lasting connection.
7 Ways to Bond With Your Newborn
Parent-child bonding is an instinctual desire for most parents. We naturally want to connect with and care for our newborns. However, getting to know them and establishing a solid bond can take effort.
No one-size-fits-all technique exists for bonding with a newborn, as every child is unique and requires different approaches. That’s why we must take the time to understand our child’s needs and preferences, communicate with them through body language and vocal cues, and provide comfort and care.
Bonding with a newborn requires patience, attentiveness, and a willingness to learn and adapt. It can take time to develop a strong bond, but the effort is worth it. Let’s look at some techniques you can use to create and nurture that bond.
- Skin-to-Skin Touch
Skin-to-skin touch is a powerful bonding technique with numerous benefits for parents and babies. When babies are placed skin-to-skin with their caregivers, they feel reassured and comforted by the warmth and scent of their parent’s bodies. This can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation and sleep.
For the parent, skin-to-skin touch lowers the risk of postpartum depression and helps them connect to the child faster.
You can try massaging your baby, stroking them, and letting them hold your finger. Additionally, you should take up the work of bathing and changing their diapers even if you have a nanny.
Make use of any opportunity to create a bonding time. The more your touch your baby, the faster you build trust. Your newborn will start feeling safer with you, which can help nourish your bond.
- Singing to Your Child
When parents sing to their babies, it can be very soothing for the mind and help create a sense of calm and security. Babies love melodies and rhymes, which help to develop their brains by stimulating their memory, language, and cognitive skills. Singing also allows babies to recognize their parent’s voices, making them feel more connected and familiar.
In addition to emotional benefits, singing can also help establish a sleep pattern for the child. Lullabies are a great way to help babies relax and fall asleep, as they provide a comforting and familiar routine.
Remember, you don’t need to sound like Beyonce or hit all the vocals like Adele to sing your child. You can sing your favorite songs and hymns or make up your new songs. The most important thing is the act of singing, which can create a positive and loving connection between parents and their babies.
- Play with Your Child
Playing with your child is an excellent way to strengthen the bond between you, as it allows for quality time and enjoyable experiences together.
When you play with your child, you encourage them to interact, be active, and explore their environment. Simple games and activities can make your child laugh and smile, promoting positive emotions and reducing stress. As your child engages in play, they also develop their brain by learning and acquiring new skills through exploration and experimentation.
You can play games with your child, such as making faces, smiling, laughing, or poking out your tongue. These games are often funny and enjoyable for children, and they may even start to imitate you. When they mimic you, it shows they are connecting and responding to the bonding experience. Another way to play with your child is by providing objects with different textures to feel, which can improve their cognitive ability and sensory processing skills.
- Communicate With Your Child
Communication is vital to any relationship and essential in the parent-child relationship. The first few weeks and months of your child’s life are crucial for bonding, and communication is critical to this process. It helps build a strong foundation for a healthy and loving relationship.
Even though newborns can’t talk, they still respond to communication, such as talking, singing, and cooing. As you communicate with your child, they will start to coo and babble back to you, which is the beginning of their communication development.
Within a short time, you will develop your own language. You will know what type of babbling means “feed me” and what type means “change my diapers.” And when you can tell and respond to your baby’s needs appropriately, you will strengthen your bond with them.
- Replace the Stroller With a Baby Sling
Using a sling increases time spent in close contact with your baby, which can help strengthen your bond. Your baby can smell and hear your heartbeat. Babies find this comforting, allowing them to feel more familiar with you. Additionally, babies feel secure when attached to you, improving comfort connection.
Using a sling also allows you to talk, touch, and feel your baby, improving your bond even further. This is important during the early months of your baby’s life when bonding is crucial. While strollers are essential for long walks and outings, using a sling for shorter trips and around the house can help to keep you and your baby close and connected.
As a bonus, baby slings also allow you to soothe your baby to sleep and keep an eye on them while you perform any household tasks.
- Shower Your Baby With Attention
Showering your baby with attention can have several benefits as a bonding technique. Firstly, babies require attention for their development, and by providing them with attention, they begin to trust and rely on you, creating a stronger bond.
Second, regular interaction and positive reinforcement can also help them feel appreciated, which is vital for their emotional well-being. Simple gestures such as clapping or kissing them after they feed will help them feel noticed and appreciated.
Finally, giving your child attention and responding to their needs can aid in their brain development, as it helps to build neural connections that promote cognitive and emotional growth. Your child will start being confident and communicate their discomfort, which can improve your relationship.
- Breastfeed Your Baby
If you are able to breastfeed your baby, you should do it as it is the most intimate form of bonding. It involves skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, and communication between you two. According to the American Psychological Association, the bonding benefits of breastfeeding extend years beyond infancy.
Considering that the child will be close to you, it allows them to feel attached to you faster. And since you are feeding them, they will see you as a provider and feel comfortable in your presence. And that not all multiple studies also show that breastfeeding encourages mother-child bonding.
Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which is vital for bonding. Oxytocin helps to stimulate milk production and letdown reflex, making breastfeeding more comfortable for the mother. Additionally, it promotes feelings of relaxation and well-being, which can enhance the mother’s nurturing and mothering behaviors and the baby’s attachment to the mother.
When Bonding Gets Challenging
Bonding with your baby may take longer than you think. If you are experiencing challenges connecting with your newborn. This can result from different factors, including difficult delivery and postpartum depression.
This phenomenon is relatively common with many parents. According to some studies, 25 to 35% of parents report not falling in love with their newborns immediately. The connection was built slowly, and eventually, they could bond with their child.
Conversely, children are usually ready to bond; with the abovementioned techniques, you can get them to connect and attach to you.
So what can you do if you struggle to connect with your child? Try these techniques:
- Spend time with your baby – Caring for a newborn can be cumbersome; however, you must set time for bonding activities like cuddling and singing. The more you spend time with them, the more you will feel they need you, and you will start to respond and predicate their need.
- Look at the world from your newborn’s perspective – Learn what your baby feels and wants to do. Are they social or like lying or staying in your arms? By responding to the baby’s cues, you can get in sync with them and be able to parent more naturally.
- Be easygoing – Attend to your baby according to their desires, for example, sleep, feed, and play with them when they want.
- Take a leave – The federal government allows for up to 12 weeks of parental leave for a reason; they want parents to bond and get to know their children. If you are in a position to take the leave, consider it. You can spend more time with your child and connect with them.
- Talk about your challenges – If you need help connecting and bonding with your child, you should consider getting input from others. A good start can be talking to other parents and getting them to help you. Additionally, you can see a psychologist or a therapist. They can help you understand your emotions and guide you on what’s best for you.
Practice Self-Care and Take a Break
Taking care of yourself as a parent is crucial for your well-being and can enhance your bonding with your child. Taking a break from parenting and finding some ‘me time’ to recharge and refresh your spirit is essential.
Getting a babysitter occasionally can give you some much-needed time to focus on yourself, pursue hobbies, or spend time with friends and family. This time away from parenting can help you re-energize and feel more relaxed and fulfilled, ultimately benefiting your relationship with your child.
By caring for your physical and emotional needs, you can approach parenting with a more positive and patient mindset. This can make you more present and engaged with your child, leading to deeper bonding experiences.