How do you bond with baby? And what can you do to ensure her senses are developing? We look at the facts
First thing’s first: what is bonding? And how do you bond with baby in the early days? “Bonding is the term used to describe how parents (and specifically a mother) feels and behaves in her relationship with her newborn baby,” says NHS midwife Eleanor Copp.
This can be in relation to how you feed baby, how you respond to the constant demands that a newborn has, and how you prioritise your own needs while caring for your little one with compassion and love.
How do you bond with baby?
Bonding with baby can be fairly straightforward, but may be affected by your birth experience and how your little one came into the world.
“Where a mother had a complicated labour and received drugs as a result, there can sometimes be a delay in bonding with baby. If the experience was traumatic, it’s also likely that there’ll be a degree of maternal depression, which currently affects 10 to 15 per cent of mothers,” says Eleanor.
The relationship you have with your partner also has an impact. “It’s important that any couple properly communicates their feelings and concerns before labour, as it means they’re more likely to experience a ‘good’ birth, where they feel more empowered and in control,” she adds.
“This usually results in the mother’s hormones being high in oxytocin, the hormone of love, trust and compassion. Baby should enjoy plentiful skin-to-skin contact and feel loved, comforted and cherished, to help her form attachments, and adapt to feeding, digesting food and sleeping well.”
How do baby’s senses affect bonding?
“Baby’s senses are also a crucial component of her development and wellbeing, says infant nutritionist Louise Pyne. “She intuitively relies on each of her five senses to absorb information from her environment, to seek comfort, take in nutrition, and to bond with you and other loved ones.”
“While some of her senses such as hearing and touch are fully developed from birth, others such as vision take several months to mature. As she grows, she uses the information she’s gathered to piece together the jigsaw puzzle that is the world around her.”
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