BONDING

Mother Nursing Baby
WHY BONDING IS IMPORTANT

Bonding with, or attaching to your child has lifelong benefits for both of you. Bonding is important because it gives you the motivation to want to care for your baby in a loving, compassionate and reliable way. When you are bonded to your child you want what is best for them, you want to include them in your life, and you want to get to know them in a meaningful way. A healthy attachment between parent and child also helps the child develop trust in themselves, other relationships, and their environment, which leads to a greater sense of well-being and many other benefits that can last a lifetime.

Parents who don’t bond with their children have less desire to care for them, and find it difficult to meet their emotional and physical needs. If no bond develops at an early age it is more likely that the parent and child will continue to grow apart as the child ages and eventually the child will seek an unhealthy attachment to their peers instead of their parent/s. An unhealthy attachment can cause the child to have difficulty interacting with others, trouble learning, low self-esteem, poor self-control and unreliable mental and physical health.

IF YOU ARE PREGNANT:
  • Tell your baby how you feel about them.
  • Care for your growing baby by taking in nutritious food and drinks.
  • Manage your stress and try to keep your environment peaceful and positive so your baby can feel that you are already protecting them.
  • Write your baby a letter, or keep a journal, describing details of your pregnancy or feelings you have about your baby as they grow or what you are excited about doing with them once they are born.
  • Close you eyes, relax, and try to feel your baby move.
  • Learn about breastfeeding so that once your baby is born, nursing will be easier and more enjoyable for you and your baby.
  • Chose a name for your baby and start using it when you think about your baby.
  • Learn about basic baby care and developmental stages so you are able to more quickly and reliably meet their needs, giving them a sense of trust in you and the world around them.
  • Massage your baby belly.
    Learn about different types of baby carriers and choose one that both you and your partner can use.
  • Sing or talk to your baby so they will recognize and be comforted by your voice when they are born.
  • If you have ultrasound pictures taken, enjoy looking at the first images of your baby and imagine what they will look like when they are born.
  • Complete tasks that can be done before your baby is born so you have more time to bond with your baby once they arrive. For example, freeze meals, arrange for people to help clean your home, pick up groceries, etc.
  • Labour and give birth in a space that makes you feel comfortable and safe.
  • Labour and give birth surrounded by people who support you and your desire to bond with your baby.
IF YOUR PARTNER IS PREGNANT:
  • Spend some quiet time telling your baby how you feel about them.
  • Prepare nutritious foods and drinks for your partner and growing baby.
  • Try to help your partner manage their stress by asking them what they need, and being extra considerate to their feelings during pregnancy.
  • Write your baby a letter, or keep a journal, describing details of the pregnancy or feelings you have about your baby as they grow or what you are excited about doing with them once they are born etc.
  • Ask your partner to help you try to feel your baby move.
  • Learn about how you can support your partner’s breastfeeding so that once your baby is born, nursing will be easier and more enjoyable.
  • Chose a name for your baby and start using it when you think about your baby.
  • Learn about basic baby care and developmental stages so you are able to more quickly and reliably meet their needs, giving them a sense of trust in you and the world around them.
  • Help you partner relax by offering to massage your partner or their baby belly.
  • Learn about different types of baby carriers and choose one that both you and your partner can use.
  • Sing or talk to your baby so they will recognize and be comforted by your voice when they are born.
  • If you have ultrasound pictures taken, enjoy looking at the first images of your baby and imagine what they will look like when they are born.
  • Complete tasks that can be done before the baby is born so you have more time to bond with your baby once they arrive. For example, freeze meals, arrange for people to help clean your home, pick up groceries, etc.
  • Help your partner plan to labour and give birth in a space that makes you both feel comfortable and safe.
  • Help your partner plan to labour and give birth surrounded by people who support you and your desire to bond with your baby.
  • Take good care of yourself, emotionally, mentally and physically so that when your baby arrives you will be able to support your partner, your baby and yourself.
IF YOU HAVE A BABY:
  • Hold and nurse your baby as soon as possible after birth to increase your long-term success at bonding and breastfeeding.
  • Stare into your beautiful baby’s eyes.
  • Hold your undressed baby on your bare chest (called skin-to-skin contact) to keep them warm, to comfort them, and to let them hear your heartbeat.
  • Breastfeed your baby when they show signs they are hungry and/or to help soothe and comfort them.
  • Hold you baby in a baby carrier, and in a carrying position that allows you to see their face and high enough so if you lean down a little bit you can kiss the top of their head.
  • Talk to your baby in a comforting voice.
  • Smile at your baby.
  • Sing or read to your baby.
  • Give your baby a gentle massage, or just gently stroke them.
  • Know that your baby is totally vulnerable and be proud that you are there to protect them.
  • Respond to their cues (voice or body signals) as soon as you can.
  • Use the time you spend feeding your baby as a chance to bond, hold them close, watch them nurse/drink, coo at them, gently stroke them, admire them, tell them you love them.
  • Repeat the gentle, happy sounds your baby makes to you back at them.
  • Remind yourself that your baby needs you and cries only to communicate their needs to you, not to bother you.
  • Let your baby feel your skin, smell you, get to know you.
  • Ask people to help you with non-baby related tasks (housework, food prep, child care of older children etc.) so you have more time to bond with your baby.
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