Bonding – the strong psychological and emotional attachment you feel for your baby – is different for every parent. Some mums immediately feel a rush of love for their newborn. Others, especially those who’ve had difficult labours, find the connection to their new mini-me isn’t as instant as they’d hoped. Bonding for them is a process that takes several weeks, or even months.
No matter how long it takes, experts agree that bonding with your baby is essential for her emotional wellbeing, particularly when it comes to developing healthy relationships later in life. So be patient and as your relationship develops, the love bond will follow. In the meantime, here are a few ways to help the process along.
How to bond with your baby
- Strip off – dozens of studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact helps your baby develop and you to bond. Breastfeeding is an ideal time to do this, but you could also cuddle and enjoy baths together.
- Get gazing – your baby’s eyes may still be squinty but they can see just far enough to focus on your face. In fact, babies look at human faces longer than any other object. Hold your baby and look at her, see if you can find features that resemble yours. The more you get to know her, the faster you’ll bond.
- Chat away – your newborn already recognises the sound of your voice and will be comforted by hearing it. Talking to your baby as you care for her and get to know her will help you feel a stronger connection.
- Change those nappies – nurturing your baby, feeding her, comforting her and changing her nappy will encourage a strong bond to develop between you.
- Speak to your GP – if you’re struggling to connect with your baby, it’s possible you could have postnatal depression. While it’s normal to have some baby blues after the birth, if you have any concerns about bonding it’s best to see your doctor.