How do you bond with your new-born baby? The initial rush of the birth has subsided, and your life as parents has begun. You may have read all about the practical things you need to do for your baby, but now it’s real! This tiny little person is new to the world and depends on you to fulfill their every need, physical as well as emotional. You want to do your best, but how do you know if what you’re doing is good enough?
It’s easy for new parents to feel overwhelmed the first few days or weeks – you feel like you should know who this new person is, but just when you think you’ve figured out their signals, cries or schedules, they change, and then what does that mean? The main things you need to think about are, is your baby eating, sleeping, and pooping a couple of times a day? If so, then the order or consistency with which they do it is less important at this stage.
The best way to bond with your baby is to be present, physically and emotionally, every time your baby is awake. A new-born’s vision is very limited, so when you hold your baby close and look into their eyes, they will feel safe and recognized. This connection will cause “love and happiness” hormones like oxytocin to be released both in you and your baby, and help you both feel connected.
You don’t need to plan a lot of activities in the first months. Whether you’re taking a slow day at home or you’re out and about, take time to relax. You can snuggle, read, sing, or have baby in a bouncy chair next to you while you’re cooking, showering, or washing the car. Tell them what you’re doing while you’re doing things around the house. The sound of a parent’s voice alone lowers the levels of stress hormones in babies and older children. Your baby will feel safe and protected, and as time goes by, it will help them develop their vocabulary to express their thoughts and ask questions about their world.
You will want to take a million pictures and videos of your little wonder. But for both your sakes, consider how much time you spend with your digital devices during these early weeks, months and years. Your phone will become outdated and stop working no matter how much or little you use it – it doesn’t need your attention to survive and thrive. You only get one chance to be a parent to this amazing little baby. Maybe your time storing memories and emotions on YOUR internal hard drive is time well spent.