The bond between a mother and her baby is thought to be one of the strongest connections in nature. For some mothers, they feel that special connection the moment they lay their eyes on the baby. Other times, bonding with the baby takes days or even weeks. This is natural since the bond between a mother and child is an individual experience and is not time driven.
The drama of the silver screen tends to glorify the intense attachment that the mother has with her new born baby moments after delivery but in reality, these feelings are not always instantaneous. According to research conducted by Taylor & Atkins (2005), 40% to 80% of the mothers experience fluctuations in emotions after giving birth. Primarily known as ‘baby blues’, these feelings include fatigue, unhappiness, worry, self doubt, frustration and cosmetic concerns, that start a few days after delivery and tend to fade within a week or two. Statistics show that one out of eight mothers go through baby blues and in this state of emotional upheaval, connecting with the baby might seem difficult. If these symptoms persist in duration, frequency and severity for weeks and months post delivery, it may lead to postpartum depression. During this emotional depressive state, mothers feel a sense of being lost where she may not know how to adapt to a major change in her life.
After delivery, coping with all these emotions while building a connection with your baby is possible. Here are some ways to build a special connection with your newborn:
Bond With The Little One Within You
Bonding starts even before the baby is born. During pregnancy, the daily activities of the mother like diet, stress and emotions, affects the baby. Talking to the bump, reading stories or singing is a good start to bond with the baby.
When the baby is born, breastfeeding is the first physical connection made between the mother and child. It releases the hormones inside the mother’s body which makes her feel relaxed and promotes attachment. Besides having emotional benefits, breastfeeding also has several physical benefits for the baby and the mother as well.
Establishing a bond between you and your baby starts through physical touch.
- Wearing or carrying baby in a front sling carrier lets you feel physically connected at all times. It is also a good way for the baby to see the world through your eyes.
- Hugging, kissing and cuddling your baby will make your feel more connected and deepen the bond
- Giving your baby a massage can relieve stress in the infant and ease your baby blues
- Try ‘kangaroo-care’, the practice of skin-to skin contact with your baby to promote a deeper connection
Listen To The Baby Cry
Babies cry to communicate and each cry has a different meaning. Learning to translate their cry will help you to understand the child’s needs of when they need to be fed or changed. As the bond between you and the baby gets stronger, you will anticipate the cries and your baby may even cry less.
Get Your Spouse Involved
If you are having a tough time dealing with all these changes, get your spouse involved by helping out with the baby. Taking night shifts, changing diapers and general help around the house are some of the ways in which your spouse can support you to feel more secure about your parenting abilities.
Each bonding experience between the mother and her baby is an individual experience and takes its own time and patience. Just like how every relationship has its own journey, so does this relationship. So be calm and embark your own journey. Don’t worry about how soon or how late you reach the point of pure attachment with your infant, and focus on every step that you take and enjoy that to the fullest. So then be it feeding your baby or giving him/her a massage, or simply playing with him/her like a toy, focus on the positives that the new member brings into your life. Do not stretch yourself to take all the responsibility of the baby just because you are supposed to, but do only what you enjoy till you feel the connect growing. Further, by practicing the activities mentioned above and by incorporating these tips into your daily schedules, you can start experiencing this missing element in your life.
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