_Bonding with your baby--Mother's Day_ VariationsPsychology,2019_DrShinn.jpg

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:

  • Unplanned pregnancy

  • Postpartum depression

  • Lack of support

  • Health issues

  • Attachment disorders

  • 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.

Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life

Found this article helpful?

Rate and review us on Google and Yelp

 
 

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment
with one of our specialists.

More about Variations Psychology

Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.

Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).

See our Specialists page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..

Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.

References:

Blakemore, C.J. & Ramirez, B.W. (2006). Baby Read Aloud Basics. New York, Harper Collins.

Blumenfeld, H., & Eisenfeld, L. (2006). Does a Mother Singing to her Premature Baby Affect Feeding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit? Clinical Pediatrics45(1), 65–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/000992280604500110

Bonding an Attachment: Newborns. (2019). Raisingchildren.net.au. Retrieved from https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/connecting-communicating/bonding/bonding-newborns

Moburg, K.U., Prime, D.K. (2013). Oxytocin effects in mothers and infants during breastfeeding. Infant 9,(6). Retrieved from http://www.infantjournal.co.uk/pdf/inf_054_ers.pdf

Parker, D.G. (2000). Yoga Baby: Exercises to Help You Bond with Your Baby Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually. New York, Broadway Books.

Passell, L. (2019). 12 Ways to Bond with Your Baby. Parenting Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.parenting.com/article/12-ways-to-bond-with-your-baby

Reece, T. (2018). 4 Exercises to Help Baby Get Stronger. Parents. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/baby/development/physical/your-babys-hand-control/

Shinn. M.M. (2018). Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent? 6 Tips for Moms and Dads to Boost Their EQ. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/am-i-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent-6-tips-for-moms-dads-to-boost-their-eq

Shinn, M.M. (2019). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kids in Active Play. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play

Shinn. M.M. (2019). Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence on Track? Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/is-my-babys-emotional-intelligence-on-track

Vaglio S. (2009). Chemical communication and mother-infant recognition. Communicative & integrative biology2(3), 279–281.

Wusthoff, C.J. (2019) Movement Milestones: Birth to 3 Months. Healthychildren.org. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Movement-Birth-to-Three-Months.aspx

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