Top 8 Ways for New Moms to Bond with Baby
Across the animal kingdom, there’s no bond quite like that between a mother and her baby. Whether it’s a mama cat saving her kitten from a burning house, a mother bird instinctively knowing how to feed her chicks, or a woman feeling her child’s pain as if it were her own, moms are connected to their kids in ways that exceed understanding. But bonding isn’t fixed or instant; bonding is a process that strengthens over time as moms and children learn more about each other and build loving, trusting relationships.
So what can mamas do to strengthen the bond with their new babies?
1. Bond over books
It doesn’t matter that your baby doesn’t understand the characters or plot twists in the you books you read. The sound of your voice will provide them with comfort and security while stimulating their growing minds. Immersing your child in a world of words will help them gain communication skills, boost their language development, and make them feel closer to you.
2. Sooth with songs
You don’t need to sing like Adele for your voice to work magic: research has shown that a mother’s singing can reduce her baby’s stress, increase healthy weight gain, and even shorten NICU stays for babies who require hospitalization. Make it a routine to sing to your baby as you rock them to sleep after bath. Over time, your daily ritual will be something your baby looks forward to and will build sweet memories for both of you.
3. Crank up your “cuddle chemical”
The more skin-to-skin contact you have with your baby, the more your body will produce a hormone called oxytocin, which is also known as the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin increases feelings of calm, pleasure, and closeness toward your baby. Practice “kangaroo care” by frequently keeping your naked or partially dressed baby close to your skin throughout the day. The scent and touch of one another will fill you both with joy.
Concerned that the bond with your baby isn’t developing the way it should be? Click below for a free 15 minute consultation with one of our Specialists
4. Feed with love
Mealtime is one of the best opportunities for bonding with your baby. Nourishing your baby builds your confidence as a mom and teaches your baby that they can rely on you for their needs. Whether your baby is fed by breast or bottle, caressing their face, making eye contact, and holding them close to the rhythm of your heartbeat will strengthen your connection.
5. Respond to cues
It’s important to respond to your baby’s cries in the first months of life; you’re not spoiling them by doing so – you’re making them feel safe and teaching them how to manage difficult feelings. It’s never too early to show your baby healthy ways to calm their body down by practicing deep breathing, rhythmically rocking them, humming, and using calm words.
Is your baby’s emotional development on track? Click here to find out
6. Bond through movement
Moms of ancient civilizations didn’t get to enjoy many of our modern conveniences: drive-thru coffee shops, diaper genies, or mommy-and-me-yoga classes. While baby-centric exercise may seem like a luxury, research supports that it increases bonding and makes new parents more comfortable with holding their vulnerable babies. There are also plenty of free ways to bond through movement including:
Giving your baby a loving massage to relax their muscle and increase circulation
Moving their legs in a bicycle motion during diaper changes
Laying on your stomach to face them during their tummy time – this prompts them to lift their head to see you, strengthening their neck and core muscles
Praising your baby as they learn to bounce on supportive surfaces such as your lap
Doing “baby sit ups” as your baby becomes able to support their own neck and head. Hold your baby’s forearms and gently pull them up and down on a soft surface, giving them a smile or kiss each time they come up
Click here to learn about the benefits of active play as your child grows
7. Don’t be hard on yourself
Bonding is an individual process that grows over time, so don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t happen instantaneously for you. It can be tough to feel connected to a baby when you’ve just met them and are adjusting to the many changes of motherhood. Be patient with yourself and trust that in time, the bond between you and your baby will be unbreakable.
8. Get support
There are a number of issues that can present challenges for mothers and babies to bond such as:
Lack of support
Autism spectrum disorder
Adoptive or step parenting
Whatever your family’s situation, our specialists can help you build a loving bond between you and your baby.
Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D., is an expert in infant and toddler neurodevelopment. If you’re concerned that your baby is having trouble connecting with you or other family members, Dr. Weir can provide diagnostic testing to assess for neurodevelopmental issues.
Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D., is an expert in dealing with the unique challenges that women face throughout life. If you’re struggling with baby blues or post-partum depression, Dr. Davis can help you work through challenges and strengthen the bond between you and your baby.
Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D., is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If you’re worried about your baby’s development, Dr. Shinn can recommend interventions in speech, language, and behavioral support before they reach preschool or kindergarten.
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How to Cite This Blog Article:
Shinn. M.M. (2019). The Magical Bond of Mothers: 8 Ways to Connect with Your New Baby. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/top-8-ways-for-new-moms-to-bond-with-baby