5 Ways First-Time Mums Can Bond With Their Precious Newborn
As new mums, welcoming your baby into the world holds inexplicable feelings like no other. Experiencing overwhelming waves of adoration for your little one as you embrace them in your arms for the first time sets the stage for a blossoming relationship.
In fact, your baby was already developing a bond with you in the womb from the moment you were expecting! Your heartbeat has been a soothing constant, and your little one’s heart races at the sound of your voice. Since the very start, you’ve given your precious one the warmth and security they are familiar with, thus laying the groundwork for an inseverable connection between you and your child.
Before your newborn’s arrival, the first three months of their infant development is crucial for strengthening your bond with them. As your baby is adjusting to life on the outside–adapting from the temperature-controlled comfort of the womb to new lights and sounds–, they’re flooded with a rush of sensory information.
Your child relies on you to ease them into this new transitional phase and respond to their basic needs. With that, you’d want to be informed on what to expect after childbirth and give your precious ones only the best. To help you start offering utmost care, here are five approaches you can adopt to establish strong ties between you and your little one!
1. Breastfeeding your newborn
Breastfeeding creates an incredible opportunity for you to bond with your child. To foster a stellar relationship with your little one from early on, having skin-to-skin contact is paramount as it encourages them to feel safe and loved in your arms. As your baby snuggles up against you to nurse, they familiarise themselves with your heartbeat, scent, and the sensation of your touch – recognising you as their primary pillar of support.
Nursing also releases calming hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin, which promote relaxation and attachment. This is the moment when your newborn learns to trust you, for your warmth reassures them! Furthermore, these hormones enhance your maternal instincts. You’ll find yourself regularly engaging in maternal behaviour like caressing your child and using affectionate language to respond to their needs.
2. Engaging in baby talk with your little one
Amidst your postpartum recovery, take time to interact with your bundle of joy and partake in bonding activities together. Think peek-a-boo games, singing lullabies as they drift off to sleep, or engaging in sweet baby talk with your young one as you change their diaper. These little moments in which you communicate with your infant are critical, for they lay the groundwork in honing your baby’s early language skills.
For new mums, having conversations with your baby may feel one-sided, for they’re unable to vocalise their thoughts just yet. However, have you ever noticed how your child moves their head and smiles at you while you speak? Their unique cues of responding to parents are by grinning or babbling! These are milestones worth celebrating, for they are signs that indicate your newborn’s desire to start a conversation with you.
During the first 10 to 12 months of your baby’s development, they memorise the words you frequently use. By talking to your child more often, not only are you inviting them to participate in the relationship both of you share actively, but it also helps them to filter new information they are receiving from the outside world.
3. Making eye contact with your baby
Eye gaze is one of the first milestones newborns achieve, and an exciting one at that! It lets parents know that their child acknowledges them as someone important: their caregiver. When you and your little one's eyes meet, an emotional connection is established. This is because the mutual gaze is a shared communicative experience, as it conveys information about a reciprocal interest and love.
The significance of eye gaze impacts both your baby’s emotional and intellectual development. They start making associations of the world around them: between food and feeder, voices and people, and what it means to be happy and comforted. Your child then builds capacities to engage, relate to others, and respond to different forms of communication.
Additionally, as your young one is still getting to grips with how their body works, you may realise that they start to imitate your facial expressions and gestures. Thus, the more expressive you are during the conversations you have with your newborn, the better they’ll be at processing their emotions.
4. Giving your child a gentle massage
Source: Khoa Pham on Unsplash
Mums, you know what happens when you put your baby down: they begin to cry. Pick them up, and they calm down immediately. But if rocking your newborn in your arms is a soothing experience for them, then imagine the benefits a gentle massage will offer! Studies have shown that infants thrive with a full-body massage, for it reduces crying and fussiness. It even helps them to sleep better at night!
Plus, massages are excellent for your child’s emotional well-being. Affectionate touch and rhythmic movement are the most powerful forms of communication between a mother and child, bringing both of you closer. While handling a newborn isn’t easy, a gentle rubdown can calm their nerves. It also helps you to understand your baby’s cues and respond to their needs quicker.
5. Showering your infant with attention and kisses
Perhaps the easiest way to foster an eternal bond with your child is to lavish them with attention and love. The moment your newborn enters this world, you’re all they see and know, which is why they turn to you for affection and support.
As parents, having a baby is one of life’s greatest blessings, so relish those intimate moments and spoil them with plenty of love! Kiss their toes, tickle their tummies, and tell them just how much they mean to you. Although your child may not understand words just yet, they’re sensitive to the feelings you wish to convey.
Babies need a healthy connection with their parents to feel secure and develop self-esteem. However, it’s okay if your bond with your child isn’t immediate – and it doesn’t mean you love them any less.
Some mums feel a special attachment when they hold their newborn for the first time, while others take longer to bond with their infants. But so long as you continue to nurture them with love and warmth, you'll eventually foster a bond of a lifetime with your baby.