Bonding with your baby after birth

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Bonding is the intense attachment that you and your baby have for each other. It's the feeling that makes you want to shower your baby with love and affection, when you know you would do anything to protect her. 

What is bonding?

And while you're savouring the high, the feel-good hormone dopamine that's coursing through your body is also helping your baby attach emotionally to you.

You probably started to 
bond with your baby while she was still in your tummy. This love-before-sight may have begun when you first felt her movements or hiccups. Or bonding may have started when you saw your baby at your ultrasound scans, getting bigger every time. 

You may have also felt the love grow as you talked to or 
massaged your bump while practising garbha sanskar. Or perhaps, the bond started to develop when you started choosing baby names.

Will I bond with my baby straight after birth?

You may do, but try not to worry if you don't. Some, but not all, parents feel a deep attachment to their baby straight after the birth. The hormone oxytocin released during pregnancy and in greater amounts during labourgives you a powerful feeling of euphoria and love after your baby is born. You may feel an overwhelming urge to protect your baby from the moment you first see her.

For other parents, feelings of attachment take a little longer to develop. You may simply feel too tired 
after your baby's birth to bond with her straight away. Or perhaps you had a long labour, or a difficult birth, and this has affected your feelings. 

Your baby may have been born with a 
health problem, which may make you feel worried or distressed. Or perhaps you feel disappointed about your baby's gender. These feelings are understandable and entirely normal, but they can affect the way you bond with your baby at first. 

If you have 
twins, you may find bonding with both your babies a challenge at first. It may be that one baby needs to be cared for in the neonatal unitwhile your other baby stays with you in the hospital room. If that's the case, your doctor may encourage you to visit the neonatal unit as often as possible to help the bonding process along.

Can I do anything to help the bonding process at birth?

Your newborn bonds through touch and smell and her senses are tuned in to respond to your unique smell and the feel of your bare skin. Try to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as you can. Skin-to-skin is when your baby is placed on your chest as soon as you're ready to hold her. 

Your doctor will also encourage you to breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after you have given birth.

Sometimes, you may not be able to hold your baby straight after she is born. This may be because you've had a 
caesarean, or if your baby needs special care. Try not to worry, as you haven't missed a crucial window of opportunity for bonding. Your doctor should help you to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as it's possible to do so. 

If your baby is 
premature, she can have skin-to-skin contact when she is strong enough. Skin-to-skin contact for premature babies, also called kangaroo care, will comfort your baby and encourage her development. It will also help you to bond with each other.

What else can I do to build our bond?

Rest assured that your attachment will develop gradually through everyday caring for your baby, when you: 

·         feed her

·         answer her cries

·         hold her close and cuddle her

·         give her plenty of eye contact

·         talk to her

·         smile at her

Even when you're not holding your baby, try to keep her close to you, so she can see you. Have her nearby in her cradle, cot, or next to you in the family bed. This way you can tend to her quickly and easily when she needs you. 

Responding to your baby promptly when she's upset, as well as when she's happy, helps to build these strong bonds of trust. This love, attention and affection will help her to thrive. 

Interacting with your baby as you care for her doesn't just help you to bond, and her to flourish. It also helps your 
baby's brain to grow and develop. 

Breastfeeding also releases hormones in your body that promote relaxation as well as feelings of attachment and love. 

Baby massage may help the bonding process. As you massage your baby, it will come naturally to you to chat to her and make eye contact with her. You'll also learn to read your baby's cues as you massage her. See our baby massage slideshow for the best techniques.

If you're in confinement for the 
first 40 days after birth, you may have your mum, mother-in-law or a japa maid around to care for you and your baby. 

Or, perhaps you live in a joint family where everyone is eager to help out and look after your baby. This may sometimes mean that you both don’t get to spend enough time with each other. Try these tips to 
get some time alonewith your baby. 

What if I don't bond with my baby immediately?

Try not to worry. You're certainly not alone, as many mums aren't ready to bond with their baby immediately. You may feel guilty about not feeling an incredible attachment to your new baby straight away. But bonding is an individual experience which develops at its own pace. 

It may take days, weeks or months for the bond between you and your baby to develop fully. Or, it may simply be the first time you see her 
smile that you realise you're completely and utterly filled with joy and love for her. 

Your baby may be cute and cuddly, but she's also an entirely new person, one you may have to get to know before you become truly close. 

Skin-to-skin contact with your baby, by both you and your baby's dad, will help you all to strengthen your attachment to each other. 

Be reassured that as you get to know your baby and learn how to 
soothe her and enjoy her presence, your feelings of attachment will deepen.

When should I worry about not being able to bond with my baby?

It may be that, after a few weeks, you don't feel more attached to your baby than you did on the day she was born. You may even feel detached from her and resentful, or hostile towards her, or blame her for the way you feel. You might be exhausted and may need some extra support. If that's the case, talk to your doctor as soon as you can. 

Postnatal depression (PND) is more than the baby blues. PND can delay bonding and make it harder for you to respond quickly and sensitively to your baby's needs. 

It's important that you seek help as soon as you 
notice the symptoms of PND. But rest assured that it is both common and treatable. Your doctor will be able to offer you the support and treatment that you need to help you recover and develop a lasting bond with your baby.

Will my husband bond easily with our baby?

Your husband is likely to experience his own feelings of attachment if he: 

·         talks to your bump during pregnancy

·         is at your baby's birth (if hospital allows)

·         holds your baby

·         bathes and massages your baby

It's thought that dads also experience biological and hormonal changes before the baby is born, and these changes may 
prepare them for fatherhood

Seeing your baby's first smile, trying baby massage and 
early play may help her dad to form and strengthen attachments with his newborn. Though for some dads, the bonding process does take a bit longer. Read more about how dads bond.

Courtesy By - babycenter


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