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Whose Baby is This?: Bonding

Mental Health:

I distinctly remember encountering this feeling when looking at my son for the first time. He was plopped on my chest and I just remember staring at him like, “Oh, that’s what you look like. Ok, what now?” For at least 2 to three months, I felt like this.


Some studies have even shown that at least 32 % of new mothers had difficulty bonding with their babies. If you take anything from this, just know that you are not alone. You are not some terrible person that is the oddball out. There is nothing wrong with you because you are not instantly enamored with your baby. You may think, “ If I’m not infatuated with my baby, why is it so easy for other people to ooh and aww at them?” You have been through months of trying physical and mental changes as you go through pregnancy. You should allow yourself some grace. No one can do it all. Do not ask for too much of yourself before you are even able to give it. You still have to physically recover while still being in charge of this little person you have to get to know. Research also shows that maternal infant bonding can be impacted by external factors like “postpartum depression , anxiety , maternal insecure attachment, social support ,preterm birth or a child’s illness.” 


Improving mother-infant bonding during the postpartum period is essential for the well-being of both mother and baby. Here are some tips to help strengthen this bond:
1. Skin-to-Skin Contact: Holding your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth and in the following weeks can promote bonding. This closeness helps regulate the baby’s temperature, heartbeat, and breathing, while also releasing feel-good hormones in both mother and baby.
2. Breastfeeding: If possible, breastfeeding provides not only essential nutrition but also an intimate bonding experience. It releases oxytocin, a hormone that fosters attachment. DO NOT sweat it if you choose not to breastfeed or pump. It’s not for everyone and that’s ok. There are several formulas out there that can meet your babies’s needs and that can also be covered by insurance if your baby’s pediatrician writes a prescription for it.
3. Eye Contact and Touch: Make eye contact with your baby during feeding and cuddling sessions. Gentle touches, such as stroking or cuddling, can create a strong emotional connection.
4. Babywearing: Using a baby carrier or sling allows you to keep your baby close while having your hands free. This physical closeness fosters bonding.
5. Respond to Cues: Attend to your baby’s needs promptly, whether it’s feeding, changing, or comforting. This builds trust and security.
6. Talk, Sing, and Read: Babies respond to the sound of their mother’s voice. Talk sing, and read to your baby to help them recognize your voice and build a connection.
7. Involve Partner and Family: Encourage your partner and close family members to be actively involved in caring for the baby. Shared responsibilities can strengthen the bond between all caregivers and the infant.

8. Take Care of Yourself: A well-rested and emotionally balanced mother is better able to bond with her baby. Don’t hesitate to seek support when needed, and prioritize self-care.

9. Be Patient: Bonding may take time, and it’s different for every mother and baby. Be patient and give yourself the space to develop a strong connection gradually.
Remember that the bond between a mother and infant is unique and evolves over time. It’s normal for it to strengthen as you and your baby get to know each other better. If you have concerns about bonding or your emotional well-being during the postpartum period, consider discussing them with a healthcare provider or counselor for additional support and guidance.

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