As a new parent, there are many things to learn. Bonding is the intense attachment that develops between parents and their baby. Some parents feel an intense attachment within the first minutes or days after their baby’s birth and for others, it may take a bit longer.
Learning how your baby bonds
It may take a while to understand your newborn and how you can establish a bond. Touch is an early language as babies respond to skin-to-skin contact. This interaction also helps with your baby’s growth and development. Eye-to-eye contact provides meaningful communication at close range. Babies also enjoy just listening to your conversations, as this can be soothing for them. While they won’t understand you, they will already know your voice and can even recognize a smile.
Factors that may affect bonding
Parents-to-be may form a picture of their baby having certain physical and emotional traits and, at birth or after an adoption, reality might make you adjust your mental picture. Hormones can significantly affect bonding. While nursing a baby in the first hours of life can help with bonding, it may also cause the outpour of different hormones in mothers. Bonding may also be delayed if a mom is exhausted and in pain following a prolonged, difficult delivery or if she suffers from postpartum depression.
If your baby spends some time in intensive care, this may also delay the bond with your baby. While you may be intimidated by the equipment, remember that bonding with your baby is still important. You can spend time watching, touching and talking with your baby each day to grow the bond with your newborn.
Should I be worried?
If you do not feel that you are bonding by the time you take your baby to the first office visit with your child’s doctor, discuss your concerns. In any event, the sooner a problem is identified, the better.
Bonding is a complex, personal experience that takes time. Each baby is different and a baby whose basic needs are being met won’t suffer if the bond isn’t strong at first. As you become more comfortable with your baby and routine, you will become more confident in the care you provide for you little one.
For more information, visit kids.mountnittany.org.
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