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Bonding with the baby after delivery

Maitri Woman

Team Maitri

Dec 18, 2021

When you hold your baby for the first time after going through long hours of labor or a caesarean, you will likely be overwhelmed with emotions. You may find yourself looking at your baby with complete awe, staring into the bright sparkly eyes, and counting the tiny fingers. All through, the one thought running through your mind is 'DID I REALLY CREATE THIS CUTE BUNDLE OF JOY?!

The deep attachment and the relationship of love, caring & affection that develops between parents and their babies is referred to as bonding. It makes parents want to bestow love and attention on their infant, as well as protect and care for him/ her. Bonding can start much before your baby’s birth. Have you thought about how is it possible to love someone without ever seeing them? While your baby was still in your womb, you most likely began to bond with the baby. This love-before-sight may have begun when you first felt their movements or hiccups inside your womb, or maybe even as early as 6-7 weeks of pregnancy when you first saw that heartbeat in the tiny baby on ultrasound. You might have felt the love grow stronger as you rubbed or talked to your growing belly.

However, for some parents, the bonding may take longer and may require some effort after birth of the baby. Don’t be disappointed if that is the case as it is quite normal and can be easily handled with proper care & attention. Bonding is an ongoing process and does not necessarily happen immediately after birth. It may develop slowly as you continue to care for your baby & respond to his/her needs and the realization of your deep bond with the baby may gradually dawn upon you with the passage of time.

Importance of bonding

Bonding with your newborn forms an important aspect of his or her growth.

  • A smile, touch, or cuddle from you can make your baby feel safe, secure and cherished. This establishes the groundwork for your child's future development and well-being.
  • Studies indicate that variations in mother-infant interactions can affect the brain development & growth of the baby. Bonding also plays a role in your baby's mental and physical development. Touching, snuggling, singing, talking, and staring into each other's eyes, for example, causes your newborn's brain to release hormones. These hormones aid in the development of your baby's brain. As your baby's brain develops, he or she begins to build memory, cognition, and language.
  • A 2013 study indicates that the skin-to –skin contact between mother & baby leads to the release of hormone oxytocin that induces calmness, reduces stress & promotes bonding for both of them.
  • Preterm babies who receive Kangaroo care ( close skin-to skin contact with mother ) show better social engagement & functioning in their early childhood & adolescent years

How to bond with your baby?

The first 60 minutes of a baby’s life, also known as the “golden hour,” is probably the most magical time for bonding with your baby. Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as they are born is a great way to begin this lifelong bond. Babies are born with a natural tendency to look for affection & attachment & hence seek bonding immediately after birth. However, it may not be so simple for the new mother who has just been through a stressful labor or caesarean section & maybe exhausted or drained out. Rest assured, this feeling gradually passes & as you relax, you may feel the attachment to your baby growing stronger. Your infant will bond with you through touch and smell, and their senses will be aligned to respond to your distinct scent and the sensation of your skin.

The bond between you and your baby will develop gradually; in the meantime, you can try out a few of these ideas:

  • Hold your baby in your arms. Try skin-on-skin rocking or holding your infant against you. Alternatively, you can wear your infant in a carrier or sling. When you are not holding your baby, keep them close so that they are able to see you.
  • As often as you can, speak to your newborn in calm, reassuring tones. This will assist your baby in learning to recognize your voice.
  • Responding to your infant promptly when they cry helps in the development of these strong trusting ties. They will thrive as a result of the love, care, and affection they receive.
  • Make eye contact with your baby when you talk, sing, or nurse them. This enhances your baby's understanding of the relationship between words and emotions.
  • You can try engaging with the baby in the routine day-to-day activities & like bathing, massaging, feeding etc.

Kiss them all you can when they are still tiny. Because in no time, they will be running away from those kisses!

No love at first sight?

Looking at your newborn baby and don’t feel anything? Throughout your pregnancy, you must have had the idea of falling in love with your baby right away. If that doesn't happen, don’t worry. You are not alone. Many mothers do not feel a bond with their newborns instantly. Bonding is a unique feeling that takes time to develop. The link between you and your infant may take days, weeks, or months to establish properly.

Many women feel that they have failed in their role as a mother since they can’t find it within themselves to love their baby. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. If a baby's primary needs are taken care of, he or she will not suffer even if the relationship isn't strong at first. Be certain that your feelings of attachment will get stronger as you get to know your baby and learn how to comfort and appreciate their presence.

When should you be concerned?

Unable to bond with your baby even after few weeks of birth? This could be more than the usual ‘baby blues.’ You could have feelings of resentment and hostility towards your baby. It's possible that you're tired and in need of some assistance. It is time to take these concerns to your doctor. Do not hesitate to open up about your most profound feeling with your doctor. They are accustomed to hearing about the concerns and fears of new parents. You must tell the truth so that you can get the required help.

You could be suffering from postnatal depression (PND). PND can make it difficult for you to bond with your infant and respond swiftly and sensitively to their demands. Therefore, it's critical to get treatment as soon as you recognize signs of PND. But don't worry; it's both common and treatable. Getting the necessary help from your doctor will help you heal and form a lasting bond with your child.

Ladies, motherhood is undoubtedly the most enriching experience of your lives. So don’t worry and enjoy these beautiful moments. These tiny little bundles of joys will be sending out college applications in the blink of an eye!

Maitri Woman

Team Maitri

Dec 18, 2021

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