Ever notice how your baby’s beautiful face—those chubby cheeks and sparkly eyes and that mischievous smile—is somehow more fascinating to watch than any Oscar-winning blockbuster? That’s no coincidence. The two of you are hardwired to thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. And if you follow your instincts and develop a great rapport now, you could set up a lifetime of stellar relationships.
Motherhood is exciting, exhilarating, and a little scary when one thinks about it. A woman is now a mom and this child she is holding is her responsibility. All moms have been there at one point or another. She wants to do everything in her power to be close to this little person. The bond is unmistakable. But where can she start?
15 Helpful & Easy Ways To Bond With Your Newborn Baby
The first three months of a baby’s life can be tough. This phase is often called the “fourth trimester” because there’s a massive amount of development still occurring while the baby adjusts to life on the outside – going from the familiar, temperature-controlled comfort of the womb to a sudden onslaught of sights, smells, sounds, and vast, open spaces with temperature swings. Newborns rely on loving parents to soothe their sensory overload and meet their basic needs. Through consistent caregiving, the parent-child bond grows. The beauty of this phase is that every moment – when you gaze at your newborn, touch your baby’s skin, feed them, rock them to sleep, change the diaper – is a part of the bonding process. With mindful communication and these simple tasks, the parent-child bond can flourish.
1. Making Eye Contact
You will feel connected to your children and they to you when eye contact is made regularly. Fortunately, it’s not something difficult to do. While playing, talking, changing, feeding or putting them to bed, you have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate active listening and looking at your baby. Babies are born dependent on their moms and are very curious. Usually, if babies are developing normally, this whole process goes well and then their bond will grow from there and only get stronger.
2. Experiencing Physical Touch
A sense of touch is so important. Through touch, we build all kinds of relationships, relieve stress and feel connected to those around us. This is due to the skin being connected to our nervous system and helping us release pent up stress and toxins. Babies are no different. Whether it is mom’s gentle cuddling, tickling or holding, or a massage, your baby will reap many benefits from the skin to skin connection. Their breathing will be calmer and they will be happier, sleep better, and learn better. Connected babies do better in life and are healthier as are their moms.
3. Singing To Them
The art of music, hearing it and singing it, is very soothing to the human body and mind. This is no different for babies who love melodies from even inside the womb. The other good reason to sing to babies is that they love the sound of their mother’s voice. Even when inside the womb, talking to them and singing to them helps with connecting better to them. This deepens the bond with your baby. Make a playlist and channel your inner Beyonce. You will be a star performer to your baby who soaks up this musical connection at his/her deepest core.
4. Reading Books To Them
Reading is a great way to bond with your baby. Usually, the baby will be in the mother’s arms when she is doing this, so it’s the added combination of several wonderful elements that keep this special; touch, the sound of mom’s voice and hearing interesting sounds that baby will soon be able to translate into single words and then language. Simple books are often best, and you could summarize parts to give your baby the gist only until they are old enough to fully understand the content. Hard-covered books are best, especially as the baby gets more curious and may try and tear the pages, so sturdy is the way to go. The simple pleasure of time spent, words being spoken and a story read will help the baby and Mom start a new tradition.
5. Taking Them Places With You
Taking your baby to stores, the park, and other people’s houses will give them new things to experience and to talk about. The fresh air, new environment and meeting new people will also help the baby’s development. Maybe it’s Mondays at the park, Tuesdays at the grocery store, Wednesdays at Mom-Baby Yoga or so on. The most important thing is that once again Mom and baby are bonding and cementing a new ritual. This will help the two of them get stronger, and be able to relate that much more easily to one another. Obviously, this must be done once the lockdown gets over.
6. Breastfeeding Baby
Breastfeeding is one of the most intimate and wonderful ways to bond and connect with your baby. Babies are literally skin to skin with mom and are immersed in mom’s smell. This will automatically relax the nervous system. For the mother too, the hormones that release the breast milk cause her to be more relaxed, and feel beautiful as she nourishes her child in her arms, smells their little head. It’s also nutritionally beneficial as breast milk contains mom’s antibodies which keep the baby healthy and strong in the long run. Being held close to mom for feeding will also help the child sleep better. Of course, if breastfeeding is not possible, the mommy can still have this amazing experience of bottle feeding the baby in her arms. Read about 9 tips to improve breastfeeding by a lactation consultant here.
7. Close Facetime
Talking and spending lots of time close to your baby will really help the bonding experience flourish. Babies who get personal attention like this from caregivers are more curious, happier and want to explore the world around them. It is also fun for the mom to have this time with her baby to talk, bond and do silly faces. Enjoying quality baby time means being there in all the activities they are doing and being present with them physically as well as spiritually and emotionally. There can be vocal imitations, where the mom echoes what the baby is saying. This helps the baby see that his/her mom is aware and into what they are saying and doing. This strengthens the bond even further.
8. Sleeping Near Baby
Sleeping near your baby builds a closer bond between mom and baby. It can be co-sleeping in the same bed or it can be a baby’s crib or bassinet next to the mom’s bed. The art of mom being near the baby, especially during those first six months, makes a difference in how the baby interacts with mom and how close the baby feels to mom. There is something about the mother-baby bond being close that helps the baby learn to trust other people later on. Read about 10 baby care myths for worried new moms here.
9. Massaging Your Baby
One of the best ways to become closer and bond is through a baby massage. Moms can be trained to do it, or even start by gently massaging the baby’s belly, arms and legs, or their back. Make this a regular part of the day so the baby can look forward to this as a special quality time. This is a great way to continue to build the mother-baby bond and for the baby to become more comfortable in their skin. Moms will come to enjoy this time as well with their little ones. They can hopefully make it an uninterrupted time when it’s just the two of them. They will both be able to find calm and peace from this experience.
10. Look In The Mirror Together
Your child doesn’t yet understand the concept of a reflection, but that’s okay. Babies love looking at human faces and this is a great way to get your baby up close and personal with his own being. Looking in the mirror will prove to be an interesting and new experience for your baby. A happy baby will mean a healthy baby with a good immune system, good sleeping and good overall health most of the time. You can even dance in front of the mirror with your baby for a serotonin boost!
11. Cuddling Together
Ah cuddling. Again, there is nothing better even as adults. Who doesn’t love a hug from their partner, family member or friend? Well, babies are the same. They love the smell of their mom and her touch just as she loves this about them. They love the safety they feel in her arms. There are so many ways to cuddle, whether standing up, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, and by playing little games that talk about eating toes, and noses and fingers, all playfully, of course. The more the mom makes these games unique to her particular baby, the closer the bond will become between her and her child. Another perk to cuddling? It just feels so nice and warm and so cosy.
12. Talking To Them
A lot of moms at the beginning may worry that they are overwhelming the baby if they talk to them while doing household tasks, but over the years, research has shown that babies who listen and watch their moms talking about simple parts of their day, “Now I’m chopping up veggies for salad,” “Look, mommy is folding the clothes. Fold, fold, fold,” this helps them with attention, language and connections down the road. And if the mom is talking and baby gurgles, she could answer, “that’s right I did say we’re having these veggies for dinner”. Talking in a baby voice doesn’t help the youngsters. It’s better she uses regular terms and talks slower.
13. Bath Time Bonding
Bath time is a great way for you to bond with your newborn baby. You and your baby will enjoy every second of it because it is a magical experience. The bubbles, the water splashing, the baby laughs or cries. You get the picture. Find a list of 5 top-of-the-line unscented baby wipes here. And find a guide to bathing your baby with different tricks and techniques here.
14. Tend To Your Baby’s Cry
A great way to bond with your newborn is to attend to your baby’s cry. Every time your baby cries, he/she is signalling to you that he needs something from you. Whether that is needing a diaper change, another feeding or the baby needs to sleep. Your baby is relying on you to make him feel protected and cared for! This is your time to bond with your baby and show your baby love!
15. Form Little Routines
Babies love repetition and routines. It gives them a sense of stability in all the chaos of life. By examining your baby’s expressions, movements, and reactions, you start to become the expert on her likes and dislikes – how she likes to be held and what sounds she responds to. Once you find something that works, make it a part of your daily routine. Interacting with your children is so important, and the kind of games you play matter, too. The games have to be simple and interactive like peekaboo, and tickle monster where there is physical and verbal interaction.
Ready to start bonding with your newborn baby? These tips aren’t complicated or impossible to do and most are fun! Bonding with your baby is super important. Give these techniques a try. You are doing an amazing job so far as a new mom. Do not put so much pressure on yourself to do everything right or to be the perfect mom. It’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to ask for help! Enjoy motherhood and this wonderful journey of being a mom. Don’t forget to bond with your baby and connect on a deeper and loving level. You got this!