Bonding with your baby

by Michelle Way – Child Health Nurse

Babies are born to connect with us, and fostering that connection is one of parenting’s great pleasures. A strong emotional bond with your baby is the basis of healthy, social and emotional development. Bonding with your baby comes easier on some days than others, and that’s ok. Here are some tips for building your attachment relationship with your baby in the early months:

  • Attend to them when they cry. This will make them feel safe, secure and less stressed, which makes it easier for them to develop and learn new things. It says to your baby “I am here when you need me.”
  • Think sensory. Baby massage, cuddles, baths, eye contact, smiling, music and singing, talking, holding them against your skin and dancing with them in your arms. These are all moments for bonding that appeal to your baby’s need for sensory experiences.
  • Follow your baby’s lead. Where possible, watch your baby and not the clock when it comes to feeding and sleeping in the first few months of life. New babies often do not follow a set schedule or routine when their needs are concerned.
  • It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, after all you are your baby’s entire world. Be kind to yourself if you have a bad day or feel like you have been out of synch with your baby’s needs, they are very forgiving and there is always an opportunity to try again.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for or take breaks from your baby’s needs. Over time as their bond with you strengthens, they know that you won’t be gone for long. Taking a break allows you to come back refreshed and to be the best parent you can be.

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