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Mommy – Baby Bonding – Strategies, Tips and Myths
The myth of instant coupling
Many mothers hope to feel an instant connection with their new baby, as if the birthing process creates an instant connection and love. However, feeling connected to and falling in love with your baby may not happen so quickly. Bonding is often a gradual process that begins during pregnancy (or even conception) and continues long after your baby is born.
Let go of worry
A new mother has enough worries without adding to her list:
– “Is this happening?” – “Am I connecting enough?” – “Am I doing it right?”
are questions that cause mothers unnecessary anxiety and stress. Get over your worries and realize that your physical and mental state affects how you bond with and feel about your child. Focus on yourself—what you need to feel physically and emotionally well—to be more present and available to your child.
Ensuring your optimal mood
BEFORE YOUR BABY ARRIVES:
Make a birth plan and send it to the head nurse at the hospital where you will give birth. List all the things you need to feel comfortable and at ease during labor and after the baby is born, for example:
- o I want to be with my baby all the time – even during baths and tests.
- o I am breastfeeding, so please do not offer my baby a bottle or a pacifier.
- o I have nothing against a pacifier, but please consult me first.
- o I don’t breastfeed, so formula is fine.
- o Please do not bathe my baby after delivery.
- o I would like to breastfeed my baby immediately after birth (if medically possible).
IN THE HOSPITAL:
- o Hold your baby immediately after birth, unless there are medical complications.
- o Breastfeed if that option is right for you.
- o Hold your newborn skin-to-skin.
- o Sleep in the same room as your child (if you feel like it).
- o Hold your baby as much as you want.
WHEN YOU GET HOME:
Leaving the hospital and caring for your newborn at home can be scary, stressful and exhausting. A few basic tips can ease this transition and make bonding happy and easier for you and your baby.
– Take time to adjust:
For (at least) two weeks after the baby is born, have a nesting period where all responsibilities other than taking care of yourself and your baby are turned off (including cleaning, cooking, entertaining, etc.). If you have a partner, they should join you during the “nesting period” as much as their schedule allows.
Mothers need time to adjust to their new role and their child at their own pace and with great support.
– Give yourself love, comfort and care:
Before you give birth (or after reading this magazine), create a support network to turn to after the baby is born: whether it’s a doula, a trusted friend, a babysitter, or a beloved and supportive relative, ask someone who can relieve you of cooking, cleaning, and childcare. Take time to rest, pamper yourself, talk to supportive friends, take stock, recharge and breathe.
Tell your support network ahead of time that you will still need their services after the baby’s first two weeks.
– Leave your expectations behind and live every moment to the fullest:
Let go of the idea that you should be blissfully happy all the time after you have a baby. Conflicting feelings about motherhood and new babies are common. Feeling different emotions – happy, overwhelmed, frustrated, excited, frustrated, elated, sad, in love, etc. – is normal and expected.
Remember: As a new mother, you experience hormonal fluctuations. If you feel depressed for more than 2 weeks after giving birth (baby-blues usually appear in the first week after giving birth and subside within 2-3 weeks), seek professional help.
Live in the moment and enjoy all the feelings that arise in the first months of your baby’s life.
– Trust your instinct:
Make sure all well-wishers leave their advice at the door and trust what you know:
- o If your baby cries, pick him up as often as you feel is right.
- o If you think your baby is hungry, feed him even if he only ate an hour before.
- o Carry your baby around the house in a sling or front carrier if they like (don’t listen to the naysayers who warn you are “ruining” your baby).
- o Talk to your child as much as you feel the urge, even if you feel silly.
- o Breastfeed or bottle feed as appropriate for you you.
- o Determine where your baby is most comfortable sleeping (crib, co-sleeper, own bed, stroller, etc.).
Above all, take the time to get to know your child. The more time you spend with your baby—observing reactions and attending to needs—the more in sync and connected you will be.
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