Bonding With Your Baby: Ten Tips That Work
Bonding is the loving process of forming an attachment or emotional connection with your baby. For most parents bonding is an immediate response which happens during the first hours or days of life. For your baby however, the attachment is not instant.
It forms gradually and is established over time.
A secure attachment develops from predictable, responsive, and nurturing care giving. One of the most basic tasks your baby undertakes is figuring out how it can get its needs met. Promptly responding to your baby’s needs in a loving manner will help him develop a strong sense of trust in you, himself, and his environment. The quality of an infant’s initial attachment is extremely important. It lays the foundation for your baby’s ability to learn, develop confidence, and to form healthy relationships.
Holding, talking, singing, rocking, cuddling and other nurturing interactions between you and your baby are bonding experiences. Not only do these interactions strengthen the emotional connection between you and your baby, it also strengthens their learning connections.
Here are some tips for deepening the bond between your baby and you:
- Provide your baby with plenty of face-to-face interaction. Bring your face close to your baby’s and gaze into each others eyes. Your smiling face, changing expressions, and loving voice will captivate him.�
- Loving touches nourish your baby’s emotional development and improve sensory awareness. Gently kiss and stroke your baby whenever you dress or change her. As your baby is feeding, caress her cheeks, shoulders, and arms. Gently rub its delicate little hands and fingers.�
- Baby massage is one of the most nurturing gifts that you can give your baby. It is a language of love between parent and child, which provides so many benefits. It relaxes, reduces stress, and helps your baby to sleep.�
- Skin-to-skin contact is soothing and comforting for both you and your baby. Hold your baby against your chest and breathe slowly. The warmth of your body, the smell of your skin, and the beating of your heart are very reassuring. You can also treat your baby to a soothing bath with you.
- Talk to your baby! Don’t worry about sounding silly. Involve him in your activities by talking about everything that you do. Once your baby’s starts cooing and making sounds, respond to his growing vocabulary by repeating those sounds back to him.
- Sing to your baby! What better way to express your love and joy? Even if you think your singing is not the best; it’s the best to your baby (hey, how often do you get a captive audience?). Don’t limit yourself to lullabies or nursery rhymes–sing whatever makes you happy. Your baby will love the effort and attention!
- You don’t need expensive toys to play with your baby–You are her most important toy. Look for all the playful opportunities as you go through your care giving routines. Help your baby learn and explore the world during these early months by making her toys and her world come alive!
- Babies make great dancing partners. They love the music, the movement, and the closeness to you. Play soothing music and gently dance with your baby around the room.
- Your baby will benefit from gentle and playful exercise. Providing physical movement is a simple, fun way to express love and to enhance your baby’s physical development. Sing songs as you move your baby’s body to the rhythm!
- Reading is a wonderful way to bond with your baby while developing language skills. Start with large books that have simple bold illustrations. Cradle your baby in your arms and let him experience the closeness that reading a book provides.
Copyright 2002 Susan Ann Stelfox.
About the Author:
Susan Stelfox, mother of one, is the author of Baby Be Loved: Growing and Learning Together During the First 24 Weeks
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