From the moment she finds out she’s pregnant, an expectant mother starts to develop a bond with her baby. Mom feels her baby moving inside her womb, and her mother’s voice is one of the first sounds the baby hears; the two share experiences that they will share with nobody else in the world.
As soon as the little one is born, the bond between mother and child grows even stronger. Mom feels an intense attachment to her baby and wants to shower her with all of the love and affection she can possibly give. Baby turns to her mother’s voice and can recognize her just from her scent. Right from the start, the bond between a mother and child is really quite amazing.
With each passing day, the connection between the two grows even stronger. The growth of this bond happens naturally, but moms often take steps to strengthen it even more. After all, she wants her baby to know just how much she loves her, how much she can depend on her, and that she will always be there for her.
While nurturing the bond with her baby is extremely important, some women get a little too carried away. In some cases, what they see as bonding can actually end up harming the baby. Here’s a look at 15 mistakes that moms can make when trying to bond with her baby.
15 The Baby Lives In Mom's Arms
Another mistake moms can make when they are trying to develop that crucial bond with their babies is never putting their little ones down. Now, of course, picking the baby up to soothe him or just to snuggle with him is important. It unquestionably helps to develop a strong bond between a child and his mother. However, when a mom never puts the baby down, it can be damaging.
I mentioned self-soothing. While at a very young age, babies aren’t able to sooth themselves, eventually, they do learn how to. It’s an important skill that little ones need to develop. However, when a mom never puts her baby down, it can prevent little ones from learning how to self-soothe. It can also impede their development in other ways. For example, a baby that is always attached to his mom’s hip could potentially be a delayed walker. Basically, when mom never puts her baby down, the little one may become completely and totally reliant on her for everything, which could lead to long-lasting damage.
14 Routines Go Out The Window
It’s not entirely possible to develop a routine with right off the bat. Newborns can be pretty inconsistent. Feedings and sleep can be totally scattered. However, trying to create some sort of a routine, even early on, is important. Babies thrive on routine. It lets them know what to expect, and gives them some comfort. And, routines are just as important for moms.
However, when a mom foregoes developing a routine for fear that it will impede bonding, it can be damaging for everyone. For instance, when a mom doesn’t develop a bedtime routine, it can lead to serious issues down the road. Routines are vital. They don’t damage bonding; they help to foster an even stronger bond. So, moms, don’t think that you are somehow harming your connection with your little one who doesn’t want to go to bed by sticking to your guns; you’re actually doing him –and yourself – a world of good.
13 Mom Waits Too Long
Moms and their babies create a bond almost instantaneously. Most moms feel an immediate connection to their child the first time they see them. If you don’t, that’s OK! It can take a little while to feel a bond, and it’s totally normal! Either way, it’s important to nurture that bond. Waiting too long to nurture it can be damaging for both the baby and the mama.
Connections between any two people need to be strengthened; it’s what makes relationships grow and flourish. This is true for mothers and their children, too. It’s important to try to nurture the bond with your little one right from the get-go; even if you aren’t feeling it right away. Waiting too long could make could make things challenging down the line. If you find that you’re having a hard time connecting with your little one, you may want to talk to someone to see if you can get some tips and advice; or to see if postpartum depression is to blame. Remember: there’s absolutely no shame in getting help!
12 How Much Time Is Too Much?
Of course, when a woman becomes a mother, her child comes before everyone and everything first. Her baby is her top priority, and rightfully so. However, sometimes, moms can forget that she has other obligations. There are other people who rely on her; that want and need her attention, too. For example, her spouse, other children, her extended family, her pets… When a mother puts all of her energy on the baby and forgets to give her time and attention to anything else, it can be damaging to her baby, as well as her other relationships.
How is always putting baby first damaging to a little one? It fails to teach her that having relationships with multiple people is important. As the baby grows, it could make her think that she’s the only one that is worthy of her mother’s attention. For mom, constantly putting the baby first can affect her relationships with other people; important relationships that she relies on in a multitude of ways.
11 Dad Is Left Out
Of course, the bond between a mother and child is a powerful one, and it needs to be nurtured. However, the bond between a father and his child is just as powerful. One of the biggest mistakes mothers can make when it comes to bonding is leaving their baby’s daddy out. This can lead to so many problems, not just in the here and now, but down the line, too.
Dad may feel like his opinion isn’t valued, or as if he isn’t an integral role in the baby’s life. This could lead him to feel resentment toward his child’s mother. It could also prevent him from creating a powerful relationship with his child, which is not only important for him; it’s important for his little one, too.
Moms, make sure you let your baby’s daddy have some bonding time, too! In fact, you should encourage it!
10 The Rescue Mistake
Of course, mom is going to give in and feed her baby in the wee hours of the night, despite how sleep-deprived she is. This isn’t really giving in, but rather meeting the baby’s basic needs, like eating. However, as the baby grows, there does come a point when mom has to stop giving her everything she wants. The Barbie Dream House I mentioned earlier, for example; if a toddler sees the house in the store when mom was just running in to buy diapers, and she gives in and lets her child have it because she wants to make her happy or feels that her bond with her child will somehow be impacted, that can be seriously damaging to the child. How? – Well, the child could end up thinking that she is going to get everything she wants, not because she deserves it, but because simply because she wants it. That, my friends, is not how life works, and that is how children become spoiled. Sorry, but I had to say it.
9 Spoiling Is Mom's Biggest Fear
While some moms become too possessive, on the other side of the coin, there are moms who are afraid they are going to spoil their babies. It’s so important for a mom and baby to develop a strong bond, but some women may feel that nurturing that bond will spoil the baby. For instance, instead of comforting a 2-week old when she’s crying, mom might opt to let her self-soothe because, well, picking her up too often will spoil her. Just an FYI, babies aren’t able to soothe themselves at such a young age; it takes them a few months to start figuring it out. Plus, it’s OK to pick up and cuddle even a 9-month old who is crying because she is teething or just wants to be with her mom. It won’t spoil her; it lets her know that she can count on her mom for comfort and strengthens their bond.
8 The Timeouts Never Start
In the early stages of babyhood, discipline isn’t really a factor. After all, you can’t really reprimand a crying newborn. However, as little ones grow, discipline is important. For example, a toddler who throws a tantrum in a store because her mom wouldn’t let her have the Barbie Dream House she eyed should be corrected (at least that my opinion.) But, some moms avoid disciplining because they fear that it will ruin the bond between themselves and their little ones. Not true.
Discipline is valuable. It teaches children important life lessons, like how to respond appropriately, and respect. When a mother constantly lets her child get away with everything and doesn’t correct bad behavior, the child could end up becoming socially inept. For instance, throwing a tantrum may become her go-to response whenever she doesn’t get what she wants in school, which could lead to a number of issues.
7 What Does The Baby See?
By now I’m sure everyone has heard about the mom who breastfed her baby while she was doing the dirty. If anyone hasn’t, just do a quick search on the Internet and you’ll have no problem finding out about it.
IMHO, this is the perfect example of something damaging a mom can do in the name of bonding. I may get some eye rolls for this, but I’m sorry, it’s totally inappropriate to breastfeed a baby while doing the deed. Yes, the baby has needs, and yes, mom has needs; but, there needs to be a separation. Exposing the baby to something like this can be extremely damaging for the little one; and for mom and dad, too! Please, know that doing things that are inappropriate with the baby around because you fear you’re going to damage your bond just isn’t true. Having relations, or watching rated R movies with the baby present can be damaging beyond words.
6 How Much Is Too Little?
To mom, it may seem like she spends every single waking (and sleeping) moment with her child, and she probably does; however, there is a big difference between being near one another and actually spending quality time together. While mom may always be within her baby’s reach, if she is constantly glued to her smartphone, tablet, computer, doing chores, running errands, etc, etc, etc, well, she’s not really spending quality time with her little one.
Sure, the baby may be in his mother’s company, and yes, mom may respond to his needs; however, a child needs more than simply receiving a drink or something to eat. He needs to spend quality time with his mother, and mom needs to spend quality time with him. Singing songs, laughing, playing, reading; these are all simple, yet invaluable quality moments that mom and her child should be sharing together. If they aren’t, then baby – and mom – could be missing out on a lot.
5 There's No Such Thing As Space
It may not seem like the most desirable trait, but indeed, new moms (all moms, actually) are a bit possessive of their babies. Possessiveness is kind of like a motherly instinct that kicks in as soon as the baby is born – or even before! This trait helps mom want to protect her baby and inspires her strong desire to care for that precious little one.
While being possessive kind of comes with the territory of being a mother, there is such a thing as being too possessive. When mom doesn’t want anyone else to do anything for the baby; when she downright refuses to let someone else lend a hand or interject in any way, it can be damaging for everyone: the baby, mom, and anyone else in the pair’s life. Baby could end up not trusting and refusing to go to anyone else; mom could end up not giving her baby the space that she needs to grow (yes, even babies need a bit of space – and even more so as they grow), and everyone else could be made to feel inferior, untrustworthy, and well, like crap.
4 Mom Comes Last
There are so many challenges that come with being a new mom. Trying to juggle it all can be overwhelming, and it’s often difficult for a new mama to find time for herself. Moms who are trying to bond with their baby may spend whatever precious little time that they could have for taking care of themselves on their little ones. It’s understandable. She feels like her whole world has become that little baby. But, neglecting self-care can end up compounding the difficulties that are associated with being a new mom. For example, she could end up becoming resentful toward others, including the baby; she could become depressed; others could end up resenting her.
While yes, the baby is mom’s top priority, there are other priorities that she shouldn’t dismiss – including herself. As the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
3 It becomes A Chore
Treating bonding like it’s a chore is definitely a mistake that can end up doing serious damage to a mother and child’s relationship.
While yes, when it comes to children, there are a lot of things that seem like chores. You know, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the bathing, the errands… However, bonding is something that should never be treated like it’s a job. It should be something that you want do to, not something that you bothers you. If you roll your eyes and act totally put out when your child asks you to play with her, or if you act like spending time with your little one is the last thing on earth you want to be doing, than it’s a safe bet that there will be some issues with your connection. Your child may end up feeling like she is second – or third, or fourth – fiddle to everything else in your life. As such, your little one may end up resenting you, or may not put her full confidence in you, which could lead to serious trouble in the future.
2 A Backwards Upbringing
While it’s true that babies are completely and totally dependent on their mothers at first, as they grow, they start to pull away and develop a bit of independence. This can happen as early as a few months old, especially when they start crawling and exploring the world that surrounds them. It might be difficult, but it’s important for moms to relinquish some of their control. If they don’t, the baby could end up being too dependent on their moms.
For example, if a baby is reaching out to grab something in front of him, and mom picks it up and gives it to him – and this type of scenario is always repeated – the little one could end up relying on mom to always give him what he wants or needs. A better idea is to encourage the little one to reach forward for the object himself. This promotes independence and will allow the child to learn that he can do things for himself. The earlier kids learn that they can do things on their own, the more self-sufficient they will become.
1 The Glass Is Half Empty
Without a doubt, one of the biggest mistakes that a mom can make when it comes to bonding with her baby is being negative.
The definition of bonding is developing and strengthening a relationship. It’s virtually impossible to do that if you are always being negative. For example, if you’re constantly yelling, nagging, putting the baby – or anyone else – down, saying hurtful things, or just acting like you’re completely and totally bothered by spending time with your little one, there are probably going to be some issues. Your child looks to you for virtually everything, including the way she views the world and how she treats others. You are her role model. If you are constantly negative, chances are that your little one is going to be, too. And let’s be honest: the last thing the world needs is more negativity.