Mommy – Baby Bonding – Strategies, Tips and Myths
The Myth of Instantaneous Bonding
Many moms expect to feel bonded with their new baby closest, as if the the time of action of childbirth creates instantaneous connection and love. however feeling connected to, and in love with, your baby may not happen this fast. Bonding is often a gradual course of action which begins during pregnancy (or already conception) and continues long after your baby is born.
Let Go of the Worry
New mothers have enough to worry about without adding bonding to their list:
– “Is it happening?” – “Am I connecting enough?” – “Am I doing this right?”
are questions that cause moms unnecessary anxiety and duress. Step out of your worry and realize that your physical and mental state affects how you bond with, and feel about, your child. Focus attention on yourself — on what you need to feel physically and emotionally well — to be more present for, and obtainable to, your baby.
Ensuring Your Optimal Frame of Mind
BEFORE YOUR BABY ARRIVES:
Create a birth plan and send it to the head nurse at the hospital in which you will deliver. List all the things that you require to feel comfortable and at ease during your delivery and after your baby is born, e.g.:
- o I want to be with my baby at all times – already during bathing and tests.
- o I am breastfeeding, so please do not offer my baby a bottle or pacifier.
- o I do not mind a pacifier, but please consult with me first.
- o I am not breastfeeding, so formula is fine.
- o Please do not bathe my baby after delivery.
- o I would like to nurse my baby as soon as she is born (if medically possible).
IN THE HOSPITAL:
- o keep up your baby right after s/he is born, unless medical complications arise.
- o Breastfeed, if you are comfortable with that choice.
- o keep up your newborn skin-to-skin.
- o Sleep in the same room as your child (if you feel like it).
- o keep up your baby as much as you desire.
WHEN YOU GET HOME:
Leaving the hospital and caring for your newborn at home can be scary, stressful and exhausting. Some basic pointers can ease this change and make bonding joyful and easier for you and your child.
– Take Time to Adjust:
For two weeks (at the minimum) after your baby is born, have a nesting-in period in which all commitments, outside of taking care of yourself and your child, are off (that includes cleaning, cooking, entertaining, etc.). If you have a partner, s/he should join you during the “nesting-in” period, to the extent that his/her schedule allows.
Moms need time to adjust, at their own speed and with abundant sustain, both to their new role and to their new baby.
– Give Yourself Love, Comfort and Care:
Before you give birth (or after you read this ezine) create a sustain network to turn to once your baby is born: whether it is a doula, a trusted friend, a babysitter, or a loved and supportive relative, have someone on call who can relieve you from cooking, cleaning, and baby-care. Take time to rest, pamper yourself, chat with supportive friends, take stock, recharge and breathe.
Tell your sustain network ahead of time that you will be needing their sets beyond the initial two weeks of your baby’s life.
– Leave Your Expectations Behind and Live in the Fullness of Every Moment:
Rid yourself of the idea that you are supposed to be blissfully happy all of the time after your baby arrives. Conflicted feelings about motherhood and about new babies are shared. Feeling a range of emotions — joyful, overwhelmed, frustrated, excited, disappointed, elated, sad, in love, etc. — is normal and to be expected.
Remember: As a new mom, you will be experiencing hormonal fluctuations. If you are feeling depressed for more than 2 weeks postpartum (baby-blues usually strike within the first week postpartum and subside within 2-3 weeks), seek specialized help.
Live in the moment and take relish in all the feelings that come up during your baby’s first months of life.
– Trust Your Instinct:
Make sure all well wishers leave their advice at the door and trust what you know:
- o If your baby is crying, feel free to pick him or her up as often as feels right.
- o If you think your baby is hungry, satisfy her already if she ate only an hour before.
- o use your baby around the house in a sling or front carrier if that’s what she likes (don’t listen to the nay sayer who warns that you will “spoil” your child).
- o Talk to your baby as much as you feel the urge, already if you feel silly.
- o Breastfeed or bottle satisfy depending on what feels right for you.
- o Determine where you are most comfortable with your baby sleeping (in a crib, co-sleeper, your bed, a bassinet, etc.).
Most of all, take time to get to know your baby. The more time you use with your child — watching responses and tending to needs — the more in sync and bonded you will be.