How To Bond With Your Baby In 3 Easy Steps
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Learn how to bond with your baby in 3 easy steps and what you can do if you’re finding that bonding is not coming easily.
In This Guide
You’ve been walking around with a miracle in your womb for nine whole months. You’ve waited patiently and dreamed of the day when you finally get to meet your baby. Maybe you’ve even waited for years for your baby to finally arrive.
And when the day finally comes, that day that you’ve waited for so long, you look into your newborn baby’s eyes and you feel absolutely nothing.
Somehow you don’t get that feeling of unconditional love. That I-would-walk-through-fire-for-you feeling just doesn’t appear.
Some parents feel love for their newborn baby the minute he or she is born. But for others, it can take some time.
Here, you can learn all about how attachment occurs, how to make the bond between you and your baby stronger, and what you can do if you’re finding that bonding is not coming easily.
What is Bonding?
Bonding is the intense attachment that develops between parents and their baby and that makes parents feel unconditional love and attachment toward their baby.
It’s this bond between the parents and their babies that makes parents want to protect and care for their little one. Bonding is what gets parents up in the middle of the night to feed their hungry baby and makes them attentive to the baby’s wide range of cries.
When you were pregnant, you probably imagined the moment you’d hold your new baby for the first time and how your body would be flooded by love. Some parents feel this the moment their baby is born, but for others, it can take weeks or even months – so don’t panic if you don’t feel this instantly.
Why Am I Not Bonding with My Baby?
It’s completely normal to take a few days, a few weeks or several months to feel that special bond.
There may not be a specific moment when you suddenly feel unconditional love for your baby. Your love may grow gradually and it’s important not to feel under pressure to bond or feel as a failing mum if you haven’t bonded yet.
There are a few common reasons why you might not bond straight away:
- You’ve had a long labor
- You’ve had a traumatic birth
- You’re feeling exhausted
- Your baby has a health problem
- You’re feeling overwhelmed by your new responsibilities
Even if none of the statements above applies to you, bonding with your baby can still take a while. But keep doing your best, try not to feel pressured, and it will come.
Sometimes there might be an underlying medical problem that is the reason why a parent doesn’t develop a bond to the child. If you suspect that this is the case, talk to your healthcare provider about it. You can, and should accept their help.
How to Bond with Your Baby
Here are some tips that can help you bond with your baby more easily:
1 Skin-To-Skin Contact
Your baby has lived inside of you for almost a full year. You’ve rocked her while you were walking, fed her when you were eating, and most importantly, you kept her warm and safe.
Adapting to life outside the womb can be difficult for your baby. By continuing to carry your baby, keeping her close and letting her feel your warmth, you will help her get used to this new world.
Skin-to-skin contact helps regulate baby’s breathing and heart rate and reduces babies level of stress hormone and make them feel calm and safe. A baby that isn’t stressed, will sleep better, which will allow you to sleep better as well.
When you cuddle and hold your baby, you work on developing the bond and creating a relationship with your baby. This is the start of your lifelong relationship with each other.
But it’s not only your baby that will become calmer from skin-to-skin contact. It’s soothing and calming for you as well (source).
A study made by MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, has shown that skin to skin contact with your baby minimize the risk of maternal depression.
Wearing your baby is a great way to connect with each other. You can look into your baby’s eyes while you talk or sing to her. Carrying your baby in a baby carrier also allows you to feel your baby’s warmth and makes it easy for you to sniff her head to smell that sweet scent.
By using a carrier you can take care of your older kids without feeling like you’re leaving the baby alone. You can do chores, cook dinner or anything else that you need both your hands for without getting interrupted by a fuzzy baby.
A study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that babies who received carrying cried 43% less than babies who weren’t carried as much.
3 Look Into the Mirror
Watch yourself interact with your baby in the mirror. This might feel like a weird tip but when you’re watching yourself be a mom, it’s easier for your brain to process the information.
Mirror therapy is a way of tricking the brain into believing phantom pains. But there’s no one saying that this kind of treatment is limited to only phantom pains (source).
By looking at pictures of yourself with your baby or as mention above, looking at yourself interact with your baby in the mirror, you can more easily get used to the idea that you’re a mom.
Your baby doesn’t understand the reflection in the mirror just yet, but she will definitely appreciate this activity later.
What if I’m Not Bonding with My baby?
Try not to worry about why you’re not bonding with your baby faster – remember, bonding can take six months or more.
Although attachment is important for your baby, relationships can sometimes take a while to grow but it may be helpful to open up and communicate with family members and friends about how you’re feeling.
The lack of a strong, initial bond does not mean you’re not a ‘natural’ parent so don’t put any extra pressure on yourself.
If you still feel the same way in a couple of weeks, talk to your baby’s doctor and ask what kind of help you can get. You might be suffering from postpartum depression and the sooner the problem is identified, the sooner you can receive help and start developing a bond with your baby.
Where To Go For Help
If you want to get help or get advice from an expert, here are a few places you can turn to for help:
- Talk to your doctor, child health nurse or midwife.
- Call the Parent Helpline on 778.782.3548
- Find a Postpartum Depression Support Group here.
WANT TO REMEMBER THIS?
There is no one right way to bond with your baby. As long as you do your best to have fun and are feeling happy around your child, your baby will feel happy and safe, and bonding will occur naturally.