Welcoming a newborn into the world is an extraordinary and life-changing experience. As parents, it is natural to want to form a deep connection with your little one from the very beginning. Bonding with your newborn is not only crucial for their emotional and social development, but it also creates a foundation of love and security that lasts a lifetime.
Let us explore ways in which both mothers and fathers can foster a strong bond with their newborn, forging a beautiful relationship filled with love, trust, and joy.
Bonding With Newborns - For Mothers
After birth, engaging in skin-to-skin contact with your baby is a powerful way to build a bond. Holding your newborn against your bare chest helps regulate their body temperature, calms them, and releases oxytocin—the "love hormone" that strengthens the maternal bond. Not only can skin-to-skin contact help create a bond, but it can also help promote baby to latch on and breastfeed.
Additional benefits include:
- Decreased risk of postpartum depression
- Healthy weight gain for baby
- Helps baby’s immune system develop
- Improved brain development for baby
- Can help reduce stress and crying for both baby and mom
If you choose to breastfeed, it provides a unique opportunity for bonding. Nursing creates a physical and emotional connection between you and your baby, promoting feelings of closeness and security. Read more on the numerous benefits of breastfeeding.
Eye Contact and Gentle Touch
Establishing eye contact and using gentle touch during feeding, diaper changes, or simply during cuddle time can help deepen the bond between you and your little one. Your newborn will begin to recognize your presence, fostering trust and attachment.
Talk and Sing to Your Baby
Your voice is a soothing and comforting sound for your newborn…remember they have been listening to you for the last 40 weeks. Talk to your baby throughout the day. Feel free to narrate your activities or softly sing lullabies. Hearing your voice helps them feel safe and loved.
Bonding With Newborns - For Fathers
Participate in Caregiving
As a father caring for your new baby creates opportunities for bonding. This means diaper changes, bathing, feeding, and dressing your baby. This involvement allows you to develop a nurturing connection while providing support to your partner.
Using a baby carrier or sling enables you to keep your baby close to your chest, facilitating physical closeness and bonding. The gentle movement and heartbeat sounds create a familiar and comforting environment for your little one.
Playtime and Physical Interaction
Engage in gentle play and physical interaction with your newborn. Make funny faces, play peek-a-boo, or gently tickle their tiny feet. These interactions help build trust, promote bonding, and stimulate your baby's senses.
Participate in nighttime routines, such as rocking your baby to sleep or taking turns with nighttime feedings. These moments provide an opportunity to bond and create a sense of security as your baby learns to associate your presence with comfort.
For Both Parents
Practice Responsive Parenting
Being attuned to your baby's needs and responding promptly helps build a secure attachment. Learn to interpret your baby's cues, such as hunger, fatigue, or discomfort, and provide comfort and care accordingly. This can be easier said than done, so be patient with yourself.
Spend Quality Time Together
Carve out special moments throughout the day to spend quality time with your newborn. This can be as little as 15-20 minutes per day. Engage in activities such as reading books, playing gentle games, or going for walks together. These shared experiences deepen the parent-child bond.
Take Turns and Support Each Other
Share parenting responsibilities and take turns comforting, feeding, and soothing your baby. This not only strengthens the bond between each parent and the baby individually but also fosters a sense of partnership and support between the two of you.
Don’t Forget Self-care
Parenting is hard, filled with sleepless nights and crying, and it feels like there is never enough time to care for yourself. But you must make time. Remember to utilize your entire support system: family, friends, daycare, nanny/au pair because Mom and Dad can’t and shouldn’t do it all by themselves. Remember, to be a good parent and caregiver, you must make time for your own self-care by doing activities you enjoy that relax you that don’t involve your newborn or other children.
Seek Support When Needed and Enjoy the Journey of Having a Newborn
Remember that bonding takes time and evolves as your baby grows. Seek support from your doctor, they can help you get through the difficulties of being a new parent.
Don’t forget to embrace the journey and savor the precious moments, for every interaction is an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your baby.