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8 Ways to Bond with Your Baby

A New mom bonding with her newborn baby on the Wumblekin Blog

Bonding, another romanticized piece of parenthood. We are often led to believe that the moment your slimy, wet, crying baby is placed on your chest that your head is instantly flooded with feelings of extreme attachment. While this is true for some new parents, it’s completely normal for bonding to take a few days, weeks or even months. This is especially true for parents who experience complications during the process of labor and birth.

Some people (ahem, me with my first) revel in the moments of snuggling up in the living room during baby’s first months, watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns and rocking their new little one between feedings. ENJOY! But for some parents, even if they enjoy their parental leave and love their new baby bundle, the process of bonding feels less natural than anticipated. Don’t fret, we offer ideas that can help kick those feelings into gear. Bear in mind that like everything with pregnancy and newborns there’s no one-size-fits-all. Keep trying things until you find what works for you and your budding family.

1. Babywearing 

There are many baby carriers that work for newborns and for new parents, even post C-section. Depending on how you feel you can strap your babe in and go for a walk, get groceries, watch a movie, or shimmy in your kitchen; be creative! Babywearing with chest skin exposed and baby naked will help with baby’s blood sugar levels and milk production (for you, mama). This is also a great way to stay social with friends and family while keeping baby in a safe little bubble away from other people’s germs. With my second, I was in a wedding 4 weeks after birth and he spent most of that day strapped to my chest. Safety Tip: It’s not recommended you cook on the stove, ride a bike, boat, or operate motor vehicles while babywearing.

2. Take a Bath Together

Birthing people can start bathing again at 6 weeks postpartum, but your non-birthing partner can hop in the tub with your baby earlier. This is a great way to connect and to help your baby feel safe in water. Safety Tips: Do not submerge baby until umbilical stump falls off. Make sure you have a good grip on baby and that baby stays warm. For some people, laying the baby in your lap with their legs parallel to yours allows for control and positions them to make eye contact, increasing the baby’s feeling of safety. If you aren’t quite ready to bathe together, it can be very powerful to treat your baby to a human milk bath or bath with massage.

3. Music and Dancing

While listening to a good lullaby is great there is no harm in teaching baby your favorite tunes at a reasonable volume. Throw on some of your favorites and sway along. Safety Tip: We aren’t suggesting you create an at home mosh pit, be sure you have a good grip on baby and that their head is well supported. Maybe start with something simple like a two-step.

4. Read to Your Baby

Read books to your newborn. It probably feels like they aren’t listening but you will see that by 2 months they may begin to coo along with you.

5. Talk to Your Baby

Yes, you are talking when you are reading, but you don’t need to stop there. Let them know what you’re doing, whether it’s time to get dressed, time to change their diaper, etc. Talking can help with bonding because it reminds you, the parent, that your little bundle is a person, not just a crying, pooping blob in those early days. And filling them in on what you’re doing includes them in the process, as trivial as the process may seem. It creates that sense of security and trust. No need for baby-talk. Talk to them human-to-human. It also helps with their verbal development.

New dad talking to his newborn baby

6. Sing

Sing to your baby, especially the same song. They will learn this to be a safety song and it will help with calming them in the future. Don’t be shy, your baby doesn’t know or care if you aren’t the next Adele... sing proud!

7. Yoga/Movement

Both local studios and online videos can teach you how to do yoga that is beneficial to both you and your baby. One of my favorite things I did with my first baby when I was pregnant and postpartum was to attend a yoga class. I learned lots of fun ways to engage baby while keeping myself healthy.

8. Baby Massage

There are lots of good resources out there for this, classes, books, and videos. This can be especially beneficial when your baby has gas.

If you are still struggling to bond, don’t panic! It takes longer for some people, and this can be especially true if you had a traumatic delivery, or your baby was taken to the NICU. Please be gentle with yourself, give it some time and talk with your partner if you can. If these feelings turn into depression or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, please call a medical provider right away.

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