Babies are at their best as newborns. They smell great, are soft and warm, and when a woman becomes a Mom and baby belongs to her, well, all that much better. The baby is hers forever. It’s exciting, exhilarating, and a little scary when one thinks about it though. A woman is now a Mom and this child she is holding is her responsibility and hers only. Well, let’s not forget Dad in this equation, but all Moms have been there at one point or another and know what she is feeling. She wants to do everything in her power to be close to this little person and for him/her to be close to her. The bond is unmistakable. Yet, where can she start?
There is lots of contradictory information out there about Mom/Baby bonding. Things her parents did are coming back, and some are forbidden or viewed as unsafe now. Some of these make sense, such as making sure babies are in proper car seats and certain things like baby walkers being dangerous if baby is not monitored. Other things like holding baby close, letting them move on the floor when they are ready, and talking to them without using baby babble, are coming back. And it’s good that they are. These are excellent ways for baby to develop a strong bond with Mom. There are also things that Mom may forget to do when she is starting out on her motherhood journey. She also may not feel that instant connection to baby right away. That is also Ok and normal. She needs to take her time to be comfortable in motherhood. It will come. So, what are some of the best ways to bond with her newborn? Here are 15 of them:
15 Making Eye Contact
Eye-contact is something we may take for granted as adults, but if we think of the last time we didn’t trust a person it was probably due to their lack of making eye contact with us. With babies, it's the same. We feel connected to our children and they to us when eye contact is made regularly. Fortunately, it's not something difficult to do. In playing, talking, changing, feeding or putting them to bed Mom has plenty of opportunities to demonstrate active listening and looking at baby. Babies are born totally dependent on Moms and very curious. Usually if babies are developing normally, this whole process goes well and they can learn easily how to read Mom as she does them. Their bond will grow from there and only get stronger.
14 Experiencing Physical Touch
A sense of touch is so important. Through touch we build all kinds of relationships, relieve stress and feel connected to those around us. Ever noticed how good many of us feel after a massage by our partners or by a professional massotherapist? This is due to the skin being connected to our nervous system and helping us release pent up stress and toxins. Babies are no different. Whether it is Mom’s gentle cuddling, ticking or holding, or an actual massage that Mom was trained to do by a massotherapist, baby will reap many benefits from the skin to skin connection. Their breathing will be calmer and they will be happier, sleep better, and learn better. This is an area of parenthood that was under-represented and talked about in the past, but is now seeing a resurgence and for good reason. Connected babies do better in life and are healthier as are their Moms.
13 Letting Baby Feel All Emotions
Moms often rush in to calm emotions, particularly crying. It's thought to be socially inappropriate to let a baby cry, and makes most Moms feel sad and helpless. They find it difficult watching their little one struggling to cope. However, new research is now coming out on the importance of letting all emotions come out naturally, including tears. This is baby’s way of venting and dealing with pent up stress, and the more a Mom is able to let them cry through it, the stronger they will be in emotional resilience and the stronger their relationship will be to Mom. This is not to say that feedings and diaper changes should be neglected - rather, if baby seems perfectly tended too, but feels the need to cry, then it's Ok for baby to cry. This is important for Moms to remember when looking to bond with babies, let them feel everything and they will feel connected more than ever to her. This will end up being a win-win situation for all sides, and the bond will only get closer for Moms and their newborns. Baby will also end up crying less.
12 Singing To Them
The art of music, hearing it and singing it, is very soothing on the human body and mind. This is no different for babies who love melodies from even inside the womb. The other good reason to sing to babies is that they love the sound of their mother’s voices. Even from inside the womb talking to them and singing to them helps with connecting better to them. There is something so sweet about the melodic notes, tune and sounds that are soothing even for us when we sing or are sung to. This deepens the bond with baby whether or not Mom is holding them when doing the singing. It doesn't even matter if Mom doesn't know how to keep a tune. She'll still be a star performer to baby who soaks up this musical connection at his/her deepest core. Mom will have the benefit of feeling that connection right back as well.
11 Playing Simple Games
Interacting with our children is so important, and the kind of games we play matter, too. The games have to be simple and interactive like peekaboo, and tickle monster where there is physical and verbal interaction. Everything from eye contact, to voice tone, to touch is practiced, and baby gets to be the center of attention in these kinds of games. It's fun for Mom too as she gets to try out her silly side with covering her face. Oops she disappeared, then oops, no here she is. With tickle monster, she can tease baby, lean in close and say in slow motion, “here comes the tickle monster.” These games further cement a playful side to the bond between mother and child. As baby gets older, he/she will start to see the predictability of Mom being a certain way, and of her always being there for them in life as in games. Mainly they will see her as a “fun” person and that's important for Mom and baby to bond.
10 Cuddling Together
Ah cuddling. Again, there is nothing better even as adults. Who doesn’t love a hug from their partner, family member or friend? Well, babies are the same. They love the smell of Mom and her touch just as she loves this about them. They love the safety they feel in her arms. There are so many ways to cuddle, whether standing up, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and by playing little games that talk about eating toes, and noses and fingers, all playfully of course. The more Mom makes these games unique to her particular baby, the closer the bond will become between her and her child. A happy baby will mean a healthy baby with a good immune system, good sleeping and good overall health most of the time. Another perk to cuddling? It just feels so nice and warm and so cozy.
9 Reading Books To Them
Reading is a great way to bond with baby. Usually baby will be in Mom’s arms when she is doing this, so it's the added combination of several wonderful elements that keep this special; touch, the sound of Mom’s voice, and hearing interesting sounds that baby will soon be able to translate into single words and then language. It's nice for Mom too to bond with baby and talk with him/her while reading the book. Simple books are often best, and Mom could ad lib or summarize parts to give baby the gist only until they are told enough to fully understand the content. Hard covered books are best, especially as baby gets more curious, and may try and tear the pages, so sturdy is the way to go. The simple pleasure of time spent, words spoken, and a story read will help baby and Mom start a new tradition of day and nighttime bonding depending on what time of day they will be reading. Typically, it's bedtime, and this is a nice routine to have in the evening before going to bed.
8 Talking To Them And Explaining Routine Of Day
A lot of Moms at the beginning may worry that they are overwhelming baby if they talk to them while doing household tasks, but over the years, research has shown that babies who listen and watch their Moms talking about simple parts of their day, “now I’m chopping up veggies for salad,” “Look, Mommy is folding the clothes. Fold, fold, fold,” this actually helps them with attention, language and connections down the road. And if Mom is talking and baby gurgles, she could answer, “that’s right I did say we’re having these veggies for dinner," etc. Talking in a baby voice doesn't help the youngsters. It's better she uses regular terms and talks slower. General conversation and looking at baby when she talks about what she's doing, will really work best to get her message across. As a bonus, baby will start to get familiar with the household routine and it will help him/her see the predictability of most of the day.
7 Taking Them Places With You
Similarly to talking about one’s day, taking baby to stores, the park, and other people’s houses will give them new things to experience with Mom and to talk about with her. The fresh air and other people around will also help baby’s development in and around Mom and other people as he/she gets older. The most important thing is that once again Mom and baby are bonding and cementing a new ritual. Maybe it's Mondays at the park, Tuesdays at the grocery store, Wednesdays at Mom/Baby Yoga etc. This will help the two of them get stronger, and be able to relate that much more easily to one another than previously. Mom is establishing a nice routine where baby and her have a predictable schedule and can do fun things together that re just the two of them and no one else. This will help to further build their relationship.
6 Taking Mom And Baby Classes
And yes, these classes do exist for Moms and newborns. There used to just be Mom/Tot classes for preschoolers and their mothers, but experts saw the advantage of Moms bonding with their baby at an even earlier age. Therefore, the birth of Mom and baby yoga, dance and play classes were created. Moms can talk, walk, sing and bond with their babies in a no-stress environment and have the bonus of meeting other Moms as well. If they are doing yoga, this is particularly good for exercise, flexibility and the emotional state for both Mom and her baby. Dance works the same way, and play gives baby a chance to play outside his or her usual structured environment. The most important thing is that Mom and baby have fun, laugh and enjoy one another when they are interacting in the class. This kind of fun spontaneous play is one of the main things that bring Moms and newborns closer.
5 Breastfeeding Baby
Breastfeeding is one of the most intimate and wonderful ways to bond and connect with baby. Baby is literally skin to skin with Mom and is immersed in Moms smell. This will automatically relax the nervous system. For Mom too the hormones that release the breast milk cause her to be more relaxed, and feel beautiful as she nourishes her child in her arms, smells their little head, and feels their warm body on her. Physically and emotionally if breastfeeding is going well, it's one of the best ways to bond with baby and a lot of fun. Besides that, it's also nutritionally beneficial as breast milk contains Mom’s antibodies which keep baby healthy and strong in the long run. Meanwhile, baby is soaking up wonderful close time with Mom and is relaxing while being nourished. Being held close to Mom for feeding will also help him sleep better. Of course if breastfeeding is not possible, Mom can still have this amazing experience of bottle feeding baby in her arms. They will become just as close in this intimate act.
4 Carrying Baby In A Sling Or Front Carrier
Baby wearing is something that has been around forever in all countries, but has only made a recent resurgence here in North America in recent years. Every baby has different needs, but all babies love to be held. Wearing baby is a wonderful way to have the skin to skin contact, feel baby near oneself, and still have hands free to deal with other every day household tasks. Baby loves the warmth, hearing Mom’s heartbeat, and her smell. For Mom, all of the above is important too, and she has baby super close to tend to if an emergency occurs or baby is in distress. Babies will often doze in their carrier for how relaxed they are. Mom can talk, sing and do all of the above with baby and it's a relaxing position for both. Baby needs to be worn face to face the first six months.
3 Close Face Time
Talking and spending lots of time close with baby will really help the bonding experience flourish. Babies who have personal attention like this from caregivers are more curious, happier and want to explore the world around them. It is also fun for Mom to have this time with her baby to talk, bond and do silly faces. Enjoying baby means being there in all the activities they are doing and being present with them physically as well as spiritually and emotionally. Moms will usually find this comes naturally once they see their baby. Sometimes she is tired and needs her space, but most of the time will love the physical and emotional face time she has with baby. There can be vocal imitations too where Mom echoes what baby is saying. This helps baby see Mom is really aware and into what they are saying and doing. This strengthens the bond even further.
2 Sleeping Near Baby
This can be a controversial one for some parents. As with everything else, Moms have to find what works best for them and their families, but one thing that does stand out, is that sleeping near baby builds a closer bond between Mom and baby. It can be co-sleeping in the same bed or it can be baby’s crib or bassinet next to Mom’s bed. The art of Mom being near baby, especially during those first six months, makes a difference in how baby interacts with Mom and how close baby feels to Mom. Babies whose Moms are nearby, tend to be more secure and have an easier time interacting with Mom and other people later on. There is something about the mother/baby bond being close that helps baby learn to trust other people later on. The good news though, is that even when baby has a bad experience, they know they can go back for comfort to Mom in later years.
1 Massaging Baby
One of the best ways to become closer and bond is through baby massage. Moms can be trained to do it, or even just simply gently massaging baby's belly, arms and legs, or their back, can do the trick. Make this a regular part of the day so baby can look forward to this as special Mom/baby time. Just as adults look forward to being cared for in this way, so do babies. This is a great way to continue to build the mother/baby bond and for baby to become more comfortable in their skin. Moms will come to enjoy this time as well with their little ones. They can hopefully make it an uninterrupted time when it's just the two of them. They will both be able to find calm and peace from this experience. Like some of the other methods, this combines many different things so children and their parents are both becoming closer and doing something beneficial for the other one.
There are the 15 ways to bond with a newborn. If Moms do all or most of the above, they will have a great relationship with their little one. But the most important thing to start bonding with a newborn baby is to show them love.