There is a misconception that as a new mom you will have an immediate and unconditional adoration for your baby. For many…yes, that is true. But for many others, it may not be the case. Naturally, I knew I had to love and protect my daughter, but I wouldn’t say the overwhelming love hit me the moment she was born. Many factors play into the potential for an initial bond with your baby, but it’s important to know that a bond can grow with time.
Don’t beat yourself up if it’s not as everyone describes it to be. Be honest with yourself…it’s okay. I promise that you will love her immensely! Even if you felt that initial love everyone boasts about, you can always benefit from bonding deeper with your child. Here are 5 easy ways to bond with your newborn.
Skin to Skin
Skin to skin contact has been proven to naturally release oxytocin in mama and baby. It’s best to do immediately after birth, although it’s not always feasible. I kept Aspen on my chest as often as possible during my hospital stay. You’re practically naked the whole time anyway! This a great way for Dad to get involved with bonding too. And when you’re back at home…forget the dishes, forget the laundry, you may even forget to eat…but do NOT forget to hold onto that baby! She will appreciate you for it, and you will fall more in love! Can your laundry or dishes do that? I didn’t think so.
Cleaning is an option if you absolutely feel like it has to be done. (Psst…it doesn’t) Newborns are tiny, lightweight, and portable! Being able to wear Aspen was a game changer for getting anything done, including eating! WHAT? Forgetting to eat? Trust me, having a newborn will rock your world. You can easily eat, clean, go for walks, go shopping, and visit friends and family while baby wearing. A stroller might be easier to push around, but that doesn’t release the same hormones that holding your munchkin does!
There are baby carries for every mama! I’m talking slings, wraps, backpacks, etc. For newborns, my favorite is the Boba Carrier. As Aspen got bigger, I found this Infantino Convertible Carrier to be easier to strap on and drop her in without assistance.
Baby is feeding often in those early days. Why not take advantage of the inevitable by perceiving it as bonding time! Baby responds well to eye contact and the sound of your voice. This is true whether you are nursing or bottle feeding. Brownie points if you strip baby down to her diaper and encourage that skin to skin while feeding too!
Feeding becomes so monotonous that it may be tempting to watch t.v. or scroll through social media. I challenge you to embrace this time that baby is the teeniest! This bonding takes little to no effort. You can simply sing, make eye contact, display facial expressions, and stroke baby’s cheek.
Mostly, your voice is what baby heard for those first 9 months in your abdominal cavity. She adores you and the sound of your voice above any one else’s. Take advantage of that! Make a habit of narrating the day to her. I often walk around with Aspen in her carrier, telling her about the shapes and colors that we see. This aids in language development as well. If you’re still unsure of what to say, reading and singing are great options! Simple children’s songs and reading literally anything to baby will warm her heart and yours. Make a routine out of it and it will come more naturally with time.
You made that precious little miracle, so follow your maternal instincts and gaze into her soul. Look at her as she sleeps, as she eats, and while doing skin-to-skin. This helps baby bond with you too! For the newest of newborns, it’s very soothing for baby to hold her in an upright position while supporting her bottom. Then, you can intently stare at her as she stares back. This was one of my favorite ways to stop Aspen from crying as a newborn.
There are countless ways to bond with your newborn baby, and many of them will come naturally. Keep it simple and consistent, and you are well on your way to falling more deeply in love with that little nugget!
How do you bond with baby? Did you feel the overwhelming love the moment your little was born? Let me know in the comments below!