Bonding with your baby is all about responding to your little one’s needs with love, care, and warmth. It is intuitive and can help you form a secure attachment to your bundle of joy. Here are various ways you can bond with your little one.
Breastfeeding is not just about feeding your baby – it is also one of the best ways to bond for mother and child. When you snuggle your little one against you to nurse, she can hear the sound of your heartbeat and take in your scent. Your baby’s scent is relatively well-developed and plays an important role in bonding.
Right from birth, your baby will be instinctively drawn to the scent of your breasts – according to scientists, this is because the Montgomery glands (the small bumps in your areola) secrete an oil that has the familiar scent of amniotic fluid. Your baby is also able to sniff out your body’s smell and when you cuddle, it leads to an oxytocin surge that helps with bonding.
2. Making eye contact during bottle-feeding
Breastfeeding is not the only way to bond with your baby. If you bottle-feed, make the effort to look into your baby's eyes. Your baby can see in grey, black, and white from birth, (by around three months old, she can make out colors a bit more clearly) and can focus on objects that are less than 9.8 inches away. Holding her close while bottle-feeding allows her to take in your face and form an intimate connection with you.
3. Skin-to-skin contact
You may have heard about the importance of making skin-to-skin contact with your baby, where you hold your diaper-clad baby against your bare skin. Early skin-to-skin contact can help trigger the release of hormones that encourage your little one to find your breast and latch on. Skin-to-skin contact can also help to relax your baby by regulating her breathing and heartbeat. Above all, it will make your little one feel safe, warm, and loved.
Giving a massage is a great way for babies and parents to feel closer to each other. Just make sure that your little one is relaxed before trying to give her one.
5. Responding to crying
You might not always be able to figure out why your baby is crying, but responding lets your tot know that you are always there for her. Pick her up when she wails for you to help build that trust.
6. Try wrapping your baby
Another way you can bond with your baby is by making her feel physically safe. You can do this by swaddling your baby with muslin or a thin blanket to help recreate the secure feeling of being in your tummy.
7. Talk to your child
Talking to your child as often as possible in soothing, reassuring tones is one of the most effective bonding techniques. Talk to your baby as you go about your day to help her learn to recognize the sound of your voice.
8. Sing songs
Singing a soothing song to your child can make both parties feel calmer. Don’t worry if you’re not a good singer – your little one won’t notice!
By trusting your instincts and developing a good rapport with your child, you can set a foundation for healthy relationships in her future. Being attentive to your child can also help to buffer her against digestive problems, sleep disorders, memory impairment, and even depression.