Bonding is the intense attachment that develops between parents and their baby. It makes parents want to shower their baby with love and affection and to protect and nourish their little one. Bonding gets parents up in the middle of the night to feed their hungry baby and makes them attentive to the baby’s wide range of cries.
Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding are both natural times for bonding. When your baby is nestled against your chest, he can smell your scent and hear your heartbeat – all a part of the bonding process. As you focus on him with no distraction, you come to know his patterns, cries, quirks, needs, and style.
These strong ties between parent and child provide the baby’s first model for intimate relationships, gives them a sense of security, and positive self-esteem. A parents’ responsiveness to an infant’s signals can affect the child’s social and cognitive development. Affection stimulates your child to grow, learn, connect with others, and enjoy life.
How to Bond:
Most infants are ready to bond right away and many parents feel an intense attachment right away, while others take a bit longer. Bonding is a process and for many parents the day to day care of their child creates that bond. You’re overcome with joy and filled with love that your child has just smiled at you…bonding. The more time a mother spends with their baby early on, the quicker mom and baby get to know each other.
Respond when your baby cries. Try to understand what he or she is saying to you. You can’t “spoil” babies with too much attention—they need and benefit from a parent’s loving care, even when they seem inconsolable. Hold and touch your baby as much as possible. You can keep him or her close with baby slings, pouches, or backpacks (for older babies). Use feeding and diapering times to look into your baby’s eyes, smile, and talk to your baby. Read, sing, and play peek-a-boo. Babies love to hear human voices and will try to imitate your voice and the sounds you make.
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