Bonding with your new little one is an important part of postpartum; it’s a special time of post-pregnancy, new-life, known as the fourth trimester. Encouraging bonding amongst new family members, new parents, and new baby is incredibly important. Sometimes, a feeling of not bonding with your new baby can cause postpartum depression or anxiety, and in these instances especially it’s important to facilitate bonding amongst mothers and their new little one.
Here are five simple ways you can try to bond with your new baby.
Skin to Skin
Immediately upon birth, pull your baby to you and hold them against your bare skin. You can request this with c-sections, and with with births where either yourself or your baby is struggling a bit, skin-to-skin can help to regulate breathing for both of you. This is also important for new dads or partners. Encourage your partner to partake in this as soon as possible.
If you have a traumatic birth experience, or if there is any reason whatsoever that this cannot happen, know that it’s okay. While skin-to-skin is important, if you do not get to do this right away for whatever reason, do what you can when you can to touch your baby. Hold their hand. Speak to them softly. And when you can hold them to your skin? Soak it up.
Keep Close: Hold Your baby
News flash: you cannot spoil a baby by holding them. It can be tricky to get things done when you’re holding a baby, however, so one of the best ways to do it all? An infant wrap carrier. Your baby will be fully supported, with regulated body temperatures, and right against your heart beat. Again, encourage your partner to take equal parts in babywearing. It’s a bonding experience that you’ll all benefit from.
Make Feeding a Bonding Experience
This can work for either breastfeeding or for bottle-feeding. If you create a serene, quiet space for you and your little one, no matter how your baby gets their nutrients, the experience will be a bonding one. If bottle feeding, this is an excellent way for your partner to share in the bonding experience as well.
Give a massage
The benefits for massage are far reaching—and it’s quite easy to do. Undress Baby and gather a good oil–coconut, jojoba, or a rose oil are all excellent options. Begin by warming the oil in your hands, massaging their feet and up their legs. Gently massage their belly, continue on their back. Massage their arms to their fingertips, and then gently touch their face and head (stay aware of soft spots) in smooth, soothing circular motions.
Reading to your baby—from newborn straight on through—is an important bonding, and educational experience that every parent or caregiver should be a part of. You’re not only spending quality time with your new little one, you’re modeling language development. Start by simply talking about what you see on the pages. Your little one will be entranced by the sound of your voice, and it’ll become a grounding moment for all for years to come.