The parent-child bond happens differently for different people. Some parents start to experience it instantly from the moment they lay eyes on their little ones, while for others, it takes some time. That said, bonding is a process that occurs over an extended period, and the activities and experiences that you have with your little one can facilitate that process.
Here are some of the things you can do to bond with your baby:
Breastfeeding is more than just about nutrition. When you breastfeed, your little one snuggles up against you and listens to your heartbeat as they feed. She also takes in your scent and enjoys the comfort of skin-to-skin contact. Together, all these things help jumpstart the bonding process.
2. Look into your baby’s eyes as you hold them
Whether you are just holding your baby or giving them the bottle, look deep into their eyes while they are in your arms. This intimate eye contact will imprint you into your baby’s mind, and they will always remember you as the one who nurtured them.
3. Massage your baby
Babies enjoy massages. Gently massage them after baths or during diaper changes and listen to them coo and giggle in delight.
4. Be close with your partner
As your baby lives with you, she will pick up on the type of bond you share with your partner. Whenever you can, do something sweet for your partner. Strengthening your bond in this way will play a major role in how well you both bond with your baby.
5. Relax and don’t be stressed about the milestones
Every baby is different, and yours will develop at her own pace. There is no point in getting stressed about milestones that she’s not hitting or hitting too early or too late. When you focus on milestones too much, your focus will be on the future, and this can cause you to miss out on what’s happening now.
6. Have some skin-to-skin contact
Skin-to-skin contact is key in promoting that parent-child bond. Whether you know it or not, your baby craves that constant physical connection. Do some kangaroo care, which has been shown to help in regulating your baby’s breathing and heart rate.
7. Respond to your baby’s cues and cries
This is extremely important, especially over the first three months of her life. Your baby needs to know that you are there for her and that you will come running when they call. Therefore, whenever you hear her crying, pick her up and reassure her to build that trust. And don’t worry about spoiling her, she’ll be just fine!
8. Read books to your baby
It’s never too early to start reading to your little one. Get a fun book and make reading to your baby part of your daily routine. You can even make it more interesting by putting on voices for different characters.
9. Create a routine
Babies thrive in predictability. Create a routine and be consistent with it and they will feel more at ease throughout the day. Routines can also help your little one understand what’s coming as the day progresses, making them look forward to the fun things and be less fussy when they have to do the not-so-fun things.
10. Sing to your baby
Your baby loves hearing the sound of your voice. If you are not a fan of baby songs, pick your favorite songs, play them for her, and sing along with them to her. Eventually, she’ll start to dance along with the tunes, and you’ll have some fun moments together!
11. Talk to your little one
Talk to your baby about your day. If you are feeling stressed, or if you feel isolated in motherhood, talk it out with your little one. In her, you have an ever-attentive, non-judgemental audience that won’t talk back and loves hearing the sound of your voice. Plus, it’ll feel great to let some of this stuff off your chest.
12. Look in the mirror together
Even if your baby does not understand the concept of reflections yet, their brains are already wired to recognize human faces. Looking at the mirror together is a great way to help them get a closer look at your face along with their face.
13. Listen to your baby’s heartbeat
Your baby’s heartbeat can excite you and make you feel a deeper connection with them. Just like you loved listening to the heartbeat when they were in your belly, you can listen to it now whenever you want to reassure yourself and foster that deep feeling of connection with your little one.
At the end of the day, bonding with your baby is intuitive. There is no “correct” way to facilitate this attachment. Instead, it is all about paying attention to your little one and responding sensitively. In this way, it becomes a fun experience for both you and your child, and before you know it, you will realize that your little one’s smile and sparkling eyes are the most fascinating things you have ever seen!