I didn’t fully comprehend the need – or the satisfaction that came with it – to bond with my child until he was born and I held him for the very first time. But although the bonding began that day in the delivery room, it didn’t end there.
The parent-baby bonding process takes time. But that process will probably be one of the most rewarding times your life. The moments when your baby stops crying when he sees you walk around the corner, smiles at you for the first time, and falls asleep contentedly on your shoulder are priceless. They are all indications that your baby feels safe and loved in your presence.
They are all signs that you have bonded.
In those precious first weeks of life, your baby responds to you using all five of her senses. Here are some ways to engage her in each one and ensure the emotional attachment you create with your child is healthy -and rewarding – for you both.
1. SOUND – Your baby has been hearing you speak for months before he was born. Chances are he already recognizes the sound and tone of your voice. By speaking gently to your baby or singing lullaby’s to him, even when you are out of his range of sight, you are letting him know you are there. He trusts your voice and every time he hears you, it bonds you to him. And it won’t be long before he talks back.
2. TOUCH – There is little that soothes a baby more than when you pick her up and hold her close. The security she feels increases each time you respond when she cries, rock her to sleep, or let her curl her hand around your finger. Also, research indicates there are many benefits to nurturing your baby with infant massage. This can also be a wonderful time of bonding with your baby. Check into local classes or conduct online research regarding the techniques of infant massage.
3. SIGHT – Is there anything that can compare with the moment when your baby locks his eyes with yours and breaks into a smile? Focusing your gaze on your child sends the message that he has your full attention which is essential for creating a bond with your child. He needs to know he is the center of your world and maintaining eye contact tells him that he is, indeed.
4. TASTE – Of course, breastfeeding is the way your baby will bond through taste. Your milk has a distinct taste that she immediately becomes accustomed to because that taste also is her primary source of nutrition. But even if you don’t breastfeed your baby, the formula you use will become the tasting bond for you and your child. While it’s true that anyone is able to feed a non-breastfed baby, when combined with the other four senses, your child will feel especially secure when you’re the one holding the bottle.
5. SMELL – We all have a unique scent to our bodies and it doesn’t take long for your baby to know yours. It is especially important not to wear perfumes around your baby that might turn him off to you or cause you to be more unrecognizable to him. Clean and fresh is better and promotes a more familiar – and gentler – atmosphere for your baby.
The opportunity to bond with your newborn lasts only for a time and then is gone, forever. Whatever you do, make the most of each moment and savor the special time you have together.
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