Bonding

Bonding with baby is such an important topic, very close to my heart (read my Story). It is the special attachment between mother and baby, and father and baby.

It starts when baby is growing in the womb and continues every single day postpartum. For some it happens naturally and there is an immediately connection. For others it can be a longer and slower process.

Still today I notice the difference in the relationship I have between my first and second child. I love them both just as much as the other, however I notice a difference in the closeness we share, which I put down to the birthing experience and our early days together.

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My husband notices a difference with his bond with each child too. With our first child, he was able to spend three months at home when our son was seven months old. Even now, our first son prefers his dad to comfort him if he has hurt himself or is upset about something.

With our second son, my husband was away at work during the week, every week. Our second son only wants his mum to look after him and to comfort him and can be very extreme about this. If I am around of course. If I am not around then dad is “ok”! As soon as I am around, then no one else is allowed.

Connecting and bonding with baby may happen straightaway for some but may take time for others. Sometimes a difficult birth, a colicky baby or breastfeeding problems can make it hard to connect. Some mothers may go through postpartum depression which could make it difficult to bond.

  • Following a difficult birth, the mother needs time to recover and may be sore. This could effect bonding as the mother is not able to give baby her full attention.
  • A collicky baby could cry for hours on end for months on end. The long days and broken nights can be very tiring for the parents and make the bonding time difficult
  • If a mother is experiencing problems with breastfeeding – sore, cracked nipples, mastitis – this could be difficult for the mother as she will be hurting instead of being able to relax and enjoy breastfeeding

If you feel you are not bonding after several weeks, talk about it with your doctor. Talk about it with other mothers.

Recommendations

    • Immediate skin contact and bonding after birth is very important for baby and mother. In cases where it is not possible for the mother to have skin contact, the father can do this.
    • Breastfeeding at the first opportunity
    • Staring into baby’s eyes
    • Singing and talking to baby
    • “Wearing” and carrying baby to build closeness
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