I deeply appreciate the precious moments, hours and sometimes even weeks after the birth of a newborn that I get to experience as a grandmother and as a birth and postpartum doula. I have the privilege of witnessing miraculous moments of the invisible, undeniable bonds of love beginning to form, melding the hearts and souls of newborns with their mother, father, siblings, grandparents and family. Many actions, sounds and even attitudes affect your little newborn “sponge” who so trustingly emerged into the world.
Bonding is a wonderful glue and gentle welcome into the world for your precious newborn baby.
Bonding, for baby and parents alike, will set you on a path for connection for lifetime. When a newborn feels truly connected with their parents through unconditional love, it sets an atmosphere in your baby’s world, before they can even think or articulate in language, that hardwires love with no specific way to earn it or work for approval. It’s just “there” and always will be. This bond works wonders later in life too. It will carry them through future challenges, peer pressure and even help combat insecurities and thus the need to strive in order to be accepted or to connect with others.
This does NOT mean we have to be perfect parents… we definitely weren’t! But, it helps us focus on always loving our kids, no matter what. There may be that middle of the night wide awake time (for the baby but not so much for you) when you are frustrated and even crying for lack of sleep, or the day-trip to the grocery store with your two week old baby and there is no comforting him at the checkout stand and you feel like you’ve lost the plot. It’s not a perfect life, but when perspective always comes back around to knowing and expressing in millions of ways that you understand this child needs you and you are willing to nurture and scoop them into your warm loving arms, no matter what. That alone speaks love and security more than any words can say.
Bonding is desirable directly after birth, and for most new parents, this is fully possible. But please remember to keep healthy perspective in the unlikely case your baby must be taken away to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I would suggest that you have Dad go there and stay with your newborn baby. He can touch baby, feed, hold and talk to him or her. Rest assured that your nearby voices and consistent touch will help calm your newborn deeply. It is remarkable how Dad’s, and soon Mom’s presence alone can speed up recovery.
TIPS TO BOND WITH YOUR NEWBORN
- Skin and eye contact: I highly suggest that you ask to have your baby placed directly on your tummy at birth and remain there safely on your warm body for a couple of hours. Then, as often as possible and when you go home continue with skin and eye contact. It’s been found your body is the best baby temperature regulator there is! Also, cuddling with your newborn is one of the greatest gifts of parenthood.
- Feeding time: Whether you breast feed or bottle feed, enjoying and feeding time and learning to focus on your baby connects you. In today’s world, it’s easy to spend the whole time on our cell phones, or just trying to catch up on things any way we can, as we sit down for a few precious moment. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of Instagram or a phone call, but forming habits early to truly focus on baby make this more like a mini vacation than a job. It’s very rejuvenating to take this time to relax, reflect, and get to know every little thing you can about this precious baby in your arms.
- Wear your baby: Wearing your baby is an incredibly easy way to bond for both parents. Moby Wraps and many kinds of baby slings are very easy to fit to Mom or Dad. It’s a great habit to get into and I can’t stress enough how much you can do while you simply wear you baby. Take a walk, get dinner ready, fold that laundry and read or write.
- Sleep near your baby: I suggest having you baby sleep near you in a co-sleeper, bassinet bassinet or something similar. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep in the same room as Mom. I have noted that mother and baby often automatically wake up simultaneously for feedings in this nighttime bonding experience. It’s amazing.
- Learn baby’s language: This involves getting familiar with your infant’s different sounds and cries. Being attentive, responsive and nurturing to the different sounds is a great way to bond. It’s fun to learn their little personal language and it’s amazing how differently they cry for various reasons.
- The 5 S’s: The video “The Happiest Baby on the Block” is wonderful! I coach new parents to watch this and do what it teaches with tons of love as the key ingredient. One thing this video suggests is to swaddle your baby. This is great, especially when you add another element – white noise (shush). You’ll be in awe at baby’s response – they’ll feel cuddled all night long!
- Pick a special song: I did this with my kids, and they now sing the same lullaby to their own kids. I used to sing it to them every night, and really anytime they needed help calming down. You can even start singing it while you’re pregnant. Your baby recognizes your voice and it causes great peace, comfort, assurance and connection. This is such a great legacy to leave to your kids and grand-kids!
Most importantly, just enjoy this time! Bonding happens naturally as you hold your baby, count fingers and toes, cuddle, cry, laugh and sing together. As you take in all these precious experiences, you are forming a connection with your child that will last a lifetime. God has given you all that you need to be an incredible parent or “grand” parent to your child!
What is a special way you like to bond with your child or grandchild?
Mavis Green is a Birth and Baby Coach located in New York City. She is a DONA Certified Birth Doula and trained Postpartum Doula. She has four children of her own, nine grandchildren and two more on the way! For more information please visit her website: http://babybirthcoach.com
Disclosure: Kristin Stansberry is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.