Bonding with your baby is one of the best parts of being a new parent. Here are some tips to help ensure that you are creating a deep connection with your baby.
Check out these 8 simple ways you can bond with your new bundle-of-joy!
1) Start Early
Bonding with your baby can begin as early as pregnancy. At around 7 months, your baby will be able to hear your voice! In fact, studies have shown that at birth, a newborn recognizes his mother’s voice. Talking, reading, and singing to your unborn baby are all great ways to facilitate that familiarity. You can also try a belly massage. Get cozy, in a calm and peaceful setting, and massage your belly while talking to your baby. You might even notice that he kicks back in response. If possible, get your partner involved as well. The more he or she talks to baby and interacts, the stronger their bond will be as well.
Breastfeeding provides an incredible opportunity for bonding. While you nourish your baby, she snuggles in close and takes in your scent, the sound of your heartbeat, and the sensation of your touch. Since your baby can only see roughly 8-12 inches, it’s the perfect time for soothing talk as you gaze into each other’s eyes. This is how babies first learn to trust and be comforted by you. Plus nursing releases feel-good hormones prolactin and oxytocin, which promote relaxation and attachment.Amazing bonding happens with the bottle too! Hold your baby close and lavish her with all the same nourishment, attention, eye contact, touching, and talking.
3) Make bath time special
At first, baths are used to calm your little one down before bedtime. But it's also a great time to see how your baby is growing as well as an opportunity to introduce sights, smells, and movements that are crucial to development. Toss in a few bath toys that will show off new shapes and colors and talk to your child in a calming voice to explain what he is seeing: "This is the color red" or "This shape is a square." To further make bath time a ritual to look forward to, add in some a baby wash that lathers up to make a bubble bath. Pop a few bubbles in the air and your little one won't want to get out of the tub.
4) Skin-to-Skin Contact
Studies have shown that there are both physiological and emotional benefits of skin-to-skin contact. Strip your baby down to her diaper and cuddle her close on your bare belly or chest, being sure to cover baby with a blanket if it is cold. Doing this helps regulate your baby’s heart & lung function, blood sugar & temperature. Some experts believe that with help regulating his body functions, your baby then saves energy allowing for more efficient development and growth. The more time you spend up close with your baby, the sooner you will learn her cues for hunger & discomfort and the faster you will be able to respond. Particularly during that newborn stage, your baby is at his happiest when he is close to you. So don’t be afraid to spend plenty of time just cuddling. You’ll find that both you and your baby are calmer and more relaxed.
5) Give your baby a massage
Like kangaroo care, an infant massage will spark feelings of attachment that Baby will have for you. You can try this during bath time or right before bed to lull your little one asleep, but really any moment together will do. Use your fingertips to rub your child's arms, legs, or back. The movements you use should be very gentle with little pressure. If you have any questions or concerns about the proper technique, be sure to consult your pediatrician.
6) Hold Baby in a front carrier or sling
Making memorable moments with your little one can be done simply as you're doing life together, whether running errands or just walking around your home. By carrying baby in a front carrier, it allows you to not only make eye contact, but it keeps them close to you so they can familiarize themselves with your scent. You can mimic their faces by smiling if they smile or by speaking to them if they start to coo. These will be the first stages of truly "communicating" with your child and they will be unforgettable.
7) Talk, Read, Sing
Talking, reading, singing to your baby There is nothing more familiar or calming to your baby than the sound of your voice. By talking to your baby often, you are inviting him to participate in your relationship. It also helps him filter all the new information he’s receiving from the surrounding world. He’ll love hearing your conversations and listening to you read and sing – and he’ll especially love when you narrate or describe things you’re seeing (cars passing or leaves falling) or doing together (a bath or diaper change).
8) Attention, Kisses, and More Kisses
Perhaps the easiest way to establish a bond with your newborn is to simply turn down the volume on the outside world and lavish her with attention and love. Kiss all the toes, exchange a thousand smiles, let the laundry and dishes pile up, and relish these tender moments. It is impossible to spoil a newborn with too much love and attention, so have at it. You will both be happier, calmer, and more self-assured for it.
Building trust and bonding with your baby takes time, attention, kindness, patience, and nurturing.
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