Bonding is essential for a baby. Studies of newborn monkeys who were given mannequin mothers at birth showed that, even when the mannequins were made of soft material and provided formula to the baby monkeys, the babies were better socialized when they had live mothers to interact with. The baby monkeys with mannequin mothers also were more likely to suffer from despair. Scientists suspect that lack of bonding in human babies can cause similar problems. Ways to Establish a Positive Bond with Your Baby
Most infants are ready to bond immediately. Parents, on the other hand, may have a mixture of feelings about it. Some parents feel an intense attachment within the first minutes or days after their baby’s birth. For others, it may take a bit longer.
But bonding is a process, not something that takes place within minutes and not something that has to be limited to happening within a certain time period after birth. For many parents, bonding is a byproduct of everyday caregiving. You may not even know it’s happening until you observe your baby’s first smile and suddenly realize that you’re filled with love and joy.
The best way for a new mother to establish a positive bond with her newborn at home is breastfeeding so you have the physical connection. Besides the physical connection, the mother releases a lot of endorphins, happy hormones, during breastfeeding so moms are generally happier when they breastfeed. But if you have decided not to bresastfeed for any reason, you can look to your baby in the eyes having her really close meanwhile you feed her.
Making an Attachment
Bonding with your baby is probably one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care. You can begin by cradling your baby and gently rocking or stroking him or her. If you and your partner both hold and touch your infant frequently, your little one will soon come to know the difference between your touches. Both of you can also take the opportunity to be “skin to skin” with your newborn by holding him or her against your own skin.
Babies may respond to infant massage, you’ll need to massage your baby very gently. Before trying out infant massage, be sure to educate yourself on proper techniques by checking out the many books, videos, and websites on the subject. You can also find out if there are classes in infant massage in your area.
Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding are both natural times for bonding. Infants respond to the smell and touch of their mothers, as well as the responsiveness of parents to their needs. In an uncomplicated birth, caregivers try to take advantage of the infant’s alert period immediately after birth and encourage feeding and holding of the baby. However, this isn’t always possible and, though ideal, immediate contact isn’t necessary for the future bonding of the child and parent.