Bonding with Baby – Why is it Taking so Long?
You have spent nine months anticipating that first moment when you meet your sweet little baby. Everything you have read and every movie you have seen depicts the beauty of that first meeting. The instant bond of baby and parent seems like it will be the most intense moment of your life. What if this does not happen for you? In reality, the bond between baby and parent does not always happen instantly. Be assured that every birth story is different, and none are better (or worse) than any other.
What is Bonding?
Bonding is the instinctual connection felt by both parent and child. It is a powerful emotion that causes parents to take care of their children no matter the circumstances. The fiercely powerful bond also allows babies to feel secure and have self-confidence.
Reasons for Delayed Bonding
While some parents experience an intense bonding the moment the new baby arrives, this is not the case for every parent. It is common that the bond slowly grows over time as you and your child become more familiar with each other. Every family’s bonding experience is unique.
It is common for bonding to be delayed when the pregnancy or childbirth experience was traumatic. Sometimes mom needs time to recover physically and mentally.
If there were complications for mother or baby during childbirth and the initial physical contact was delayed for medical reasons, bonding may take a little longer as well. C-sections, premature births, or other medical issues can all cause delayed bonding.
In the weeks and months after birth, postpartum depression can occur which can interfere with bonding. Every new mom and her caregivers should always keep an eye open for signs of postpartum depression including depression, severe mood swings, excessive crying, longer-term bonding issues, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, fear, and thoughts of self-harm or harming her baby. A new mom should talk to her doctor right away if she is feeling overwhelmed. There is help available.
Ways to Encourage Bonding
If you are feeling like you have not bonded adequately with your baby, here are a few things you can do:
- Give it time – Continue to care for your baby and one day soon you will be surprised to learn that you do have an incredibly strong connection with your child. If you feel as though it is taking too long, talk to your doctor. You may be experiencing postpartum depression.
- Have close contact as much as possible – Increasing skin-to-skin contact with your baby will help encourage the natural bonding instinct to kick in for both of you. Hold your baby while she falls asleep, gaze into her eyes while you feed her, and put the bassinette in your bedroom to share space while you sleep. Anything you can do to increase contact will be helpful. This goes for dads as well.
Award-winning Baby Blendy bottles can help to encourage bonding because they reduce the amount of gas that your child is ingesting. It is much easier to strengthen the bond between parent and child when your child is not suffering from the discomfort associated with cholic or excessive gas.
Above everything else, enjoy your new baby and try not to worry too much. Each relationship is different, and each bonding experience is unique. Do not compare your experience with anyone else’s. If you are concerned, please call your doctor or midwife.
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