Having a new baby is a life-changing experience. Even if you don’t give birth to your baby, you can develop a bond with them. Understandably, most moms expect to feel a bond with their babies right from the get-go. However, not all moms do, and that’s okay. The great news is, just like any other relationship, a bond can be cultivated to grow over time.
Keep reading to get some ideas for bonding with your baby, even if you don’t instantly feel the connection.
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Why Do Some Moms Not Experience The Bond Hormone Rush Right Away?
When you get pregnant, and while giving birth, the body produces a whole host of hormones. Some of these hormones, like the labor hormone oxytocin, stimulate an overwhelming feeling of euphoria, much like feeling high when you first hold your baby. Because of this, mothers immediately feel an unshakable love for their children, and instinctively want to nurture and protect the newborn baby.
However, in some cases, the new mother may be so out of it because of pain drugs; she won’t respond to the oxytocin in the same way. Also, having a long labor, being exhausted, unmet expectations, and premature birth can cause the mother to be numb. Sometimes more severe issues like postpartum depression may affect the mother to child bond.
Moreover, some women may be going through stress and abuse that affects the way they process things.
And if you are adopting or have a baby via surrogacy, then you don’t have the same hormone cocktail going on to trigger the instinctive bonding in the same way.
Tips For Bonding With Your New Baby
The important thing to note is that not having the instant feeling of overwhelming love for your newborn is nothing to feel guilty about. About 20% of new moms go through the same, so you are not alone.
The good news is that bonding with your baby is not limited to the first few hours after birth. You can establish the same intense bond months or even years after birth. Much like any new relationship, you can work on creating that bond.
Here are some tips to help you bond with your infant.
Care for your baby
Try bathing, feeding, changing, and taking care of your newborn’s needs yourself. Being available for your little one may help you fall in love with them. You might not feel any rush of emotions, but it will develop gradually.
Moreover, meeting your baby’s needs will give you more confidence. You will lose a lot of the early apprehension, helping you bond with your baby.
Talking with your child
Like any other relationship, talking strengthens and helps to build the bond between two people. The same goes for you and your infant. Take some time to strike a conversation with your baby. They might not be able to respond, but they can hear the sound of your voice.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to talk googoo gaga. Just speak like you would with anyone else. The conversation can be about anything and everything. Get into the habit of doing this every day. It will help to nurture your bond.
Singing to your newborn
Singing or playing music to your tot may calm them down. This will give you more time of quiet to just spend with your child. You are likely going to bond better with them when they are calm rather than screaming.
Plus, it will lower your stress levels. Throw in a little dance routine while you are at it. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; you’re not going on idols! Just find something you like. As you do more of that with your baby, you increase your chances of bonding.
Sleep near your baby
Sleeping with your baby in the same room gives you both more time to get to know each other and feel comfortable together. You can move your infant’s bassinet right next to your bed. It also makes it easier for night time feeds. If you are comfortable with it, co-sleeping is also a good option.
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Make the most of feeding times
Whether you are breastfeeding or not, use every feeding time to connect with your baby. Focus on face-to-face communication, tickle their feet, and hold them close to you. Try to engage with your baby as much as possible. As you do this, you increase the connection between the two of you.
On top of that, breastfeeding causes your body to release oxytocin, which will help you bond better with the baby.
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Establish a routine
Getting your new baby into a routine early on will give you some structure. It will make it easier for both you and your newbie to adjust to each other. The bonding process will work better when both of you are relaxed.
Have some alone time
Sounds like dating advice, but it really does help with bonding. Spending some time alone with your baby may help you to bond faster. When you are building any relationship, one of the most important things is to spend some time getting to know the other person.
Your relationship with your newborn is no different. Find time to spend with them outside of feeding. Even when your child is sleeping, sit down a while and look at them.
RELATED: How to keep your relationship alive after a baby
Carry your baby
Carry your baby around on your body in a sling. This will help to give you a sense of closeness. If you do it while in the house, you will have your baby with you most of the time. The physical connection will accelerate the bonding process.
If you are having a hard time bonding with your baby, establishing a skin-to-skin routine may help.
When babies are born prematurely, mommies and daddies are advised about kangaroo care. This involves skin to skin contact with the newborn. If you are working on finding your bond, this will come in handy.
Just lying down with a baby on your chest or stroking them may help. If nothing else, it will relax your baby. When your newborn is calm, you can let go of any fears that can interfere with the process of bonding.
Listen to your little one’s heartbeat.
Listening to your baby’s heartbeat may help with the bonding process. Hearing the beat of a human heart and knowing that it came out of you is likely to trigger your motherly instincts.
Massage your baby
Learn the ropes of infant massage and give your little one a gentle massage. Infant massages have been linked to lowering postpartum depression in mothers and easing baby’s anxiety.
Write a journal
Write down your feelings on paper. This way, you will be able to put things into perspective and relax. It may be just what you need to clear your head.
Verbalizing your feelings helps you process them better. You don’t have to go through it on your own. You can connect with other mom groups in your area or online.
Seeking professional guidance may also be a good idea. Talk to trained professionals if you have gone more than a couple of months and still can’t seem to connect with your newborn. There could be an underlying problem.
As you find ways of bonding with your little one, remember not to put pressure on yourself. As long as you don’t have thoughts of harming yourself or the child, just put the work in and be patient. All in all, you can still love and care for your baby even if you don’t immediately feel it.