Bonding with your baby is one of the most precious aspects of the new life you’ve helped to create. From the earliest moments of her birth, you can begin bonding with your baby. If you are separated from your baby for a little while following birth thanks to a C-section or other condition, there is not a lost bonding opportunity. Your baby will wait for you, and even though she may not be capable of showing it, she will thrive and relax in your presence.
If breastfeeding comes easily to you and your baby, it is an excellent way to bond. The distance between a nursing baby and her mother is the actual distance a newborn can see clearly. That means that when you watch her eat, you may be the only thing she can see making the experience much more powerful.
A word of caution about breastfeeding as bonding: For many new mothers, breastfeeding can be a struggle initially. If there are extra emotions such as perceived lack of bonding if your baby fails to latch properly or the nursing hurts, you’ll only be causing yourself greater stress.
Nurse your baby because you want to offer her that form of nutrition, not because you think it is the best way to bond. When you get the nursing routine down, the bonding will follow. And if nursing doesn’t work out, there are many other ways to bond just as well to your baby.
Your newborn won’t have much to say that isn’t said in tears or whimpers, but when she opens her eyes and watches you in the dark, watch her. Turn off the TV and any other noise so that the two of you can focus on each other. Send her all the protective and nurturing thoughts you have through your eyes, smile, and kisses. She’ll likely watch you and “listen” as long as she can before drifting back off to sleep.
When a newborn falls asleep, they immediately fall into a state of dreams and rapid eye movement. This is why babies often smile and make such wonderful faces as they drift off. Watch your baby’s face as she drifts off to sleep and memorize her smiles, make note of the little circles she makes with her mouth and breathe in her little sleepy sighs.
For most people, singing is an act of intimacy. To sing a lullaby to your sleeping baby is a powerful thing, one that has been common throughout history. Find a comfortable chair and sing to your little one while you pat or rock her. Walk her through the house humming a special song. Sing when she’s upset and soon she might calm down the instant she hears you singing what will eventually become your special song.
It has been shown that babies who are not held enough fail to thrive. While you surely don’t need the extra encouragement, never be afraid or embarrassed to hold your baby. You will not spoil her by rocking her for long periods of time. There is nothing wrong with relaxing on the sofa holding your precious little one for lengthy breaks in the day. There is a reason babies cry to be picked up. To be held in loving arms is one of the most comforting feelings there is. Not only is it comforting for your baby, but it is comforting for you as well. So go ahead, hold your baby. You both need it.
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