201201-mums-helpline-bondDid you know that bonding with your children improves their self-esteem and helps them to become better performers in school?

Bonding with your baby is the process of forming an attachment or emotional connection, which starts the moment you hold your newborn in your arms. Whether this comes naturally or not, there are a lot of things you can do to get closer to your baby and help her feel protected, comforted and loved. For many parents, the rush of unconditional love they feel when they first hold their newborn is indescribable.

A secure attachment develops from predictable, responsive and nurturing care giving. When you respond promptly to your child’s needs in a loving manner, it helps him develop a strong sense of trust in you and the environment. The quality of an infant’s initial attachment is extremely important. It lays the foundation for your baby’s ability to learn, develop confidence, and form healthy relationships.

Holding, talking, singing, rocking, cuddling and other nurturing interactions between you and your baby are bonding experiences. These interactions strengthen the emotional connection between you and your baby and also strengthen their learning connections.

Bonding Tips

Smile at your baby often. Try as much as possible to smile at your baby. You may not know it but she recognises your happy, smiling face. Try establishing eye contact with her and always touch, rub her arms and body, pat, stroke and rock her. This will make her feel secure and loved. Since the child can easily pick up your emotions, hug her often as this will make her stop crying.

Talk to your baby. Do not worry about sounding silly. Involve your child in your activities by talking about things you do. Once your baby starts cooing and making sounds, respond to her growing vocabulary by repeating those sounds back to her.

Massage your baby. Baby massage is one of the most nurturing gifts you can give your baby. It is a language of love between parent and child, which provides so many benefits. It relaxes, reduces stress and helps your baby to sleep. Massage causes your child’s body to release oxytocin, a calming hormone, which can boost her immune system. It also encourages her body to eliminate toxins, increase her appetite and helps her feel secure. It can also help ease common problems like colic, digestive difficulties and constipation.

Play with your baby. Look for all the playful opportunities as you go through your care giving routines. Help your baby learn and explore the world during these early months by playing with her and making her world come alive.

Sing to your baby. What better way to express your love and joy? Even if you think your singing is not the best, it is the best for your baby. Do not limit yourself to lullabies or nursery rhymes; sing whatever makes you happy. Your baby will love the effort and attention.

Interact with your baby. Provide your baby with plenty of face-to-face interaction. Bring your face close to your baby’s and gaze into each other eyes. Your smiling face, changing expressions and loving voice will captivate her.

Have skin-to-skin contact. Skin to skin contact is soothing and comforting for both you and your baby. Hold your baby against your chest and breathe slowly. The warmth of your body, the smell of your skin, and the beating of your heart are very reassuring.

Give loving touches. Loving touches nourish your baby’s emotional development and improve sensory awareness. Gently kiss and stroke your baby whenever you dress or change her. As your baby is feeding caress her cheeks, shoulders and arms

Read to your baby. Reading is a wonderful way to bond with your baby while developing language skills. Start with large books that have simple, bold illustrations. Cradle your baby in your arms and let her experience the closeness that reading a book provides.

Dance with your baby. Babies make great dancing partners. They love the music, the movement and the closeness to you. Play soothing music and gently dance with your baby around the room.

Exercise your baby. Your baby will benefit from gentle and playful exercise. Providing physical movement is a simple, fun way to express love and to enhance your baby’s physical development. Sing songs as you move your baby’s body to the rhythm.

Kiss the baby often. Kissing her face and head quite often and always saying “I love you” will make her feel your warmth and love. When talking to your baby, use a jolly and soft voice.

Carry your baby close in a sling. It is not only the easiest way to get the baby from one point to another, but it is also a great way to intensify your bond and help her feel safe. She will love the closeness of your body.

There are many other ways that can help you bond with your baby. We have only shared a few of them. Identify what pleases your baby and enhance the bonding process further.

Published in January 2012