Sometimes, the bond between a new Mom and a baby takes time to develop. It's not always as simple to build this bond as Moms expect it to be. A lot of variables influence the way that babies bond with their Mommies...or don't bond with them!
Sure, most Moms bond with their babies the moment that they hold them in their arms for the first time, right after labor. These Moms are lucky. However, a surprisingly high number of Moms don't have that type of joyous experience right from the first minute.
Today, I want to talk about ten reasons why babies just aren't ready to bond, as well as five reasons why Moms don't connect with their babies the way that they should. Moms who are having trouble in this important area need to know that they aren't alone. They also need to know what they need to change to help turn things around.
In most cases, the bond develops anyway. It just takes a little time, as well as plenty of patience and a lot of love. In rare cases, babies or Moms need a bit of help to establish close bonds with one another. This type of help is always available, whether it's from a pediatrician or a therapist.
15 The Baby Seems Afraid
Babies need gentle words, a soothing touch, affection and superb baby care. When they get these things, they tend to find it easier to bond with their Mommies (and Daddies). If a baby seems fearful, he or she may not be getting what is needed. Moms are typically primary caregivers, so they have to go the extra mile to make their babies feel safe.
A Princeton University study revealed that a whopping forty percent of babies aren't able to bond with their parents the way that they should. Unfortunately, this inability to bond (for whatever reason) sometimes leads to a lifetime of alienation from Mom or Dad, or both parents.
What happens early in the parenting process is really important. The formative years last from age one to five. During this time, a baby's character and personality will be molded, for better or worse. With this in mind, do all that you can to provide a safe and loving environment. It will help your baby to develop the right level of trust and confidence.
14 The Baby Isn’t Feeling Well
Sometimes, babies don't bond because they just aren't feeling good. If your baby seems unwilling to bond, you should be sure that there is an underlying health issue which is bothering your baby and distracting him or her from getting to know (and love) you.
Illnesses in babies run the gamut, from temporary problems like colic to serious health issues, such as infant cancer. If you're worried about your baby's health, be sure to check the baby's temperature and give him or her a thorough inspection.
Also, don't hesitate to take your infant to the pediatrician. Tell the doctor that you're having a hard time bonding with the baby and that you're afraid there may be a health issue which is affecting your baby son or daughter. A pediatrician will be able to confirm or exclude the presence of illness or disease.
Do all that you can to ensure that your baby is feeling good.
13 The Baby Has A Lot Of Caregivers
A baby who receives care from a variety of people, rather than a primary caregiver (i.e. Mom) may find it difficult to establish a close bond with just one person. Studies show that infants who get care from an array of people during their initial days and weeks have trouble determining which caregiver is the most important.
Since studies back up the fact that babies struggle to bond when too many people are looking after them, you may want to take care of your newborn yourself most of the time.
Use the first days and weeks to ensure that a rock-solid bond develops.
If you want to get help from a nanny, you may want to wait until your baby is a little older. Shut out the rest of the world and spend your time feeding your baby, bathing him or her, providing affection and talking to your infant. Let everything else go for a while.
This precious time in your life and your baby's life is not going to last for long. Use it to build a strong foundation for a lifelong bond that brings you and your baby joy.
12 The Baby Won’t Nurse
Have you heard of the baby condition called, "oral aversion"? It happens when an infant doesn't want to nurse! Most experts consider oral aversion to be a signal that breastfeeding isn't going well. Maybe the baby isn't getting enough milk or there's another type of problem. Sometimes, breastfeeding isn't easy.
If you notice oral aversion, you'll need to decide what to do next. Your baby needs frequent nourishment. Some Moms make the decision to embrace bottle-feeding. They choose high-quality formulas.
Kristin Cavallari decided that she was tired of being a "slave" to her breast pump and she decided to make her own organic baby formula instead. Is there a chance that her baby was suffering from oral aversion?
If you need to bottle feed your baby, don't worry about what society thinks. Oral aversion is a problem and you need to make sure that your baby gets fluids and nutrients. Just do what is best for the baby and you. People have a lot to say about others, but they don't walk in their shoes, so focus on making your baby happy.
11 The Baby Prefers Dad
Some babies seem to light up when they are with their Dads, but don’t have the same close and happy bond with their Moms. If this happens to you, don’t worry too much. A strong bond takes months to develop. As long as you provide cuddles and take care of your baby’s needs, things will be ok.
Also, your baby is bonding well with his or her father and this is a good thing. You might feel a little jealous sometimes, but, overall, it's a positive thing that your infant adores Dad.
If you notice that Dad is more beloved, and has the power to calm the baby down in a way that you don't, watch your partner and see what's he doing. Is he talking to the baby more than you do, in a nice, gentle tone which is really soothing? Is he touching the baby more? Does he carry the baby differently than you do? Look for clues which help you to bond more effectively.
10 The Baby Seems Neglected
If your baby isn’t bonding with you, you should ask yourself, “Am I taking good care of my infant?” Infants that don’t get good care may develop Reactive Attachment Disorder.
According to Web MD, this disorder, which is known as RAD for short, is something that babies develop when their care is really negligent. The lack of adequate baby care prevents infants from emotionally bonding with their caregivers. This disorder also happens to some older babies and kids. It may happen any time before a child turns five.
If you're afraid that you're not caring for your baby properly, you should reach out for help. So much great advice is out there online. Also, your pediatrician (or a public health nurse) should be able to provide common-sense advice about how to take care of your baby. Educate yourself to minimize or eliminate the risk of Reactive Attachment Disorder.
9 The Baby Is A Preemie
Preemies come early and their body systems need to catch up after they're born. These babies are special and they require time before they become strong. Since they are tiny and need to grow, they may not be able to bond with their caregivers the way that full-term babies do.
In most cases, all that is needed is a little time. With time, your baby will develop more and you'll be able to build the close bond that you want.
Also, a preemie may spend a lot of time in the ICU after childbirth. Sometimes, these babies are hooked up to medical machines and this makes it harder to hold them and do the typical mom-baby stuff. If this happens to you, don't worry too much. My Dad was a preemie and he grew up to be big, tall and smart. He was very attached to his mother and treated her like a queen.
Preemies who've gone on to amazing success include Stevie Wonder, Sir Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain.
8 The Baby Has Psychopathy
Have you heard the term, “bad seed”? Some babies are born with psychopathy, while others are born normal but become sociopathic due to inadequate nurturing. A baby who is born psychopathic will not have a normal conscience and will also suffer from “incapacity to love”.
Some babies really are psychopathic. A British study showed that one in 100 babies could be psychopathic. The best strategy for caring for a child like this is to teach the right values. A baby like this isn't going to have emotional empathy. He or she will only have cognitive empathy. In other words, your baby won't be able to feel your feelings or anyone else's feelings. He or she will only be able to understand the emotions of others in a detached, intellectual way.
Emotional empathy is a big thing to lack, so you need to teach proper behavior from day one.
There are ways that mental health professionals detect this disorder. There is a checklist that they run through. As well, MRIs show differences between typical brains and psychopathic or sociopathic brains.
Babies who are psychopathic and do receive great parenting tend to be more considerate of others. They learn an honor code which helps them to behave appropriately, at least, most of the time. For this reason, providing caring mothering will be extremely important.
7 The Baby Has Allergies
If you have allergies yourself, you already know just how bad they can make you feel. It's the same deal with babies who have allergies. They are dealing with allergy symptoms which make them feel cranky and unwell.
Some babies react to ingredients in baby formula. Others react to environmental factors within the home or outside of the home. Pets and dust are typically big triggers.
Babies who have allergies aren't going to feel great and their health issues may make it hard for them to bond effectively with their mothers or other caregivers.
If you suspect that your baby has allergies, we recommend taking your tot to the pediatrician. If you discover that your infant does have a specific allergy, you may find that there is a wonderful treatment available.
Once your baby gets the right treatment, he or she may perk up a lot and find it easier to bond with you.
6 The Baby Seems Hyperactive
If you or your baby's Dad suffer from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), you should know that your infant has a one-in-four chance of inheriting this condition. Babies who have this disorder may be too wound up to bond.
It's not actually possible to diagnose this problem before a child turns four. However, the vast majority of physicians agree that it's a condition which is present from birth. Right now, four to twelve percent of schoolchildren in America have ADHD.
So, what are the symptoms? Well, you should look for restlessness which is extreme, tantrums and attention-seeking. Obviously, these symptoms are easier to detect in older babies. This is why you should go with your gut.
If you think that your baby has a problem, you may well be right. Keep an eye on things and get your child help when he or she is older. There is help available.
5 Mom Had A C-section
When you get a C-section, that's real surgery. This means that you'll need time to recover from your operation. The recovery period may hinder the process of bonding with your new baby.
Also, some doctors believe that women who have C-sections find it tougher to bond with their babies because they can't see their babies right after they are born. Women are usually able to see their infants as soon as they are moved to Recovery at the hospital.
If you need a C-section, you need a C-section. That's life. You have to recover from it and you need to baby yourself while you are recovering. Just do your best to bond with your baby until the recovery phase is complete. Ask for help with caring for your baby if you're not feeling well. Focus on giving your infant affection and proper care to the best of your ability.
Try not to worry too much. Before you know it, you'll be fully recovered and you can put all of your energy into motherhood.
4 Mom Has PPD Symptoms
So many celeb Moms have had to deal with post-partum depression. Chrissy Teigen had PPD and she said that she spent most of her time at home with the curtains closed. She didn't even know what the weather was like on most days.
Other famous Moms who had PPD include Brooke Shields, Lena Headley (Cersei from Game of Thrones) and Sarah Michelle Gellar. This type of depression can hit any woman from any walk of life. It does not discriminate based on income or any other variables.
Hormone shifts after childbirth are believed to set the stage for PPD. Symptoms of PPD include drastic mood swings, feelings of depression, trouble bonding with a baby, withdrawal from loved ones and buddies, appetite changes, insomnia and low energy.
If you think that you have this problem, please don't suffer in silence. Talk to your doctor. He or she will help you. You don't have to feel this way and getting the help that you need will assist you with bonding with your new baby.
3 Mom Is Way Overtired
The first weeks (months?) with a new baby are exhausting. When we’re sleep-deprived, we don’t typically see much joy in life. Some women who aren’t getting rest after having babies may not bond too well with their babies, because they don’t feel very warm and fuzzy in general.
Sleep deprivation makes our IQs plummet. It also makes us grumpy. It's just unpleasant to be sleep-deprived, especially when it's happening day after day. Sleep deprivation can actually be dangerous. People make more mistakes when they aren't getting enough rest.
New Moms have so much on their plates and they need to get deep and healing sleep. I recommend napping when the baby does. Any sleep that you manage to get it going to help.
If you don't have much assistance with baby care and fatigue is affecting your ability to bond with your baby, it may be wise to reach out for help in the community. While your exhaustion will likely pass once your infant starts sleeping more, you need to get though things in the meantime...and do what's best for your baby.
2 Mom Doesn’t Like Nursing
Some women find nursing difficult and uncomfortable. For example, their nipples may crack or they may not produce enough milk. Breastfeeding does help with bonding and women who have trouble with breastfeeding may find that they aren’t ready to bond the way that they expected to.
Quite often, women expect breastfeeding to be very simple. It is for a lot of women. However, plenty have problems with it and these may negatively impact bonding.
Moms who choose to bottle-feed may be making the right decision. If bonding isn't happening because Mom is struggling to breastfeed, she's going to feel bad about herself. This is going to affect the way that she relates to her infant. It's probably better to bottle-feed and have more confidence as a new Mom. When you do, you may be able to focus on bonding, rather than always thinking about how your failing when it comes to nursing.
Only you can decide if nursing or bottle-feeding is right for you.
1 Mom Just Needs More Time
Richard Woolfson is a child psychologist and he has stated that "instant" bonding between Moms and babies is not always the norm. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. He believes that the bonding process develops over the course of months. In his view, a lot of factors contribute to loss of confidence in new Moms. When Moms lose their confidence, they find it harder to bond with their infants. They may lose the desire to bond with them!
His advice is not to give up. Moms should always try to establish bonds with their babies, even if the results aren't what they expected. It's all about perseverance. Some Moms need a little more time to become best friends with their babies. Every woman is different. What's important is to always try.
Sources: Web MD.com, Mayo Clinic.com, Parenting.com
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