Bonding is the attachment that develops between a baby and her parents.
Bonding is a feeling of love. It makes you want to give your baby affection
and protect her.
Bonding helps your child feel secure and helps her begin building positive
Bonding helps parents understand a baby's cries and signals and meet the
Bonds can form between a baby and her mother, father, siblings, adoptive
parents, and other relatives and caregivers.
When does bonding take place?
Babies usually bond with their parents in the minutes, hours, or days following
Bonding can take place at any time. There is no time limit.
What if we don't bond right away?
Most babies are ready to bond immediately after birth. This is not always
If a baby is sick and needs immediate care, she may need to be taken away
from parents to receive medical attention in a different room.
Often, parents are exhausted after delivery and need time to rest before
they are ready to bond.
A complicated birth can delay bonding.
If your baby has health problems or a birth defect (especially facial),
bonding may be delayed. This is normal. It often takes parents some time to
adjust to unexpected conditions.
Some parents feel an immediate sense of love and affection right away, while
other parents may not. This intense feeling will probably develop over time
as you take care of your baby and have less anxiety about your new responsibilities.
It's easier to bond with your newborn if you have the support of family
and friends. It's okay to ask others for help so that you can take a break
from time to time. You'll be able to take better care of your child if you
take good care of yourself, too.
How do babies communicate?
Newborns communicate through touch. Your baby loves skin-to-skin contact,
such as gently rubbing her back or feet.
Eye-to-eye contact is important. Babies will even try to copy your facial
Babies can follow moving objects with their eyes.
Babies respond to your voice. They try to copy the sounds that you make.
What activities can we do together?
Bonding is natural. It may take time, though.
Any affectionate behaviors or interactive activities you do with your child
will help you bond with her.
The first bonding experience is the delivery.
If possible, rest your baby on your stomach. She will enjoy the feel of
your skin and will look up at you from time to time.
Both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding are bonding activities.
Read and sing to your baby.
Rock her to sleep.
Cuddle with her.
Copy each other's voices and noises.
Copy each other's facial expressions and smiles.
Copy each other's movements.
Let your baby touch you on your face, hair, and hands. The different shapes
and textures will interest her.
You don't have to set aside special time for bonding. For example, use diaper
changes or feeding time to do these activities.
When should I call the doctor?
Call your doctor if you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of postpartum
depression. This is a condition that needs medical attention.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about bonding with your
Talk to your doctor if you think your child is having problems seeing or
Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you have about your
own health or your child's health.
Call your doctor if you think you might hurt your child. See "Child
Bonding is the attachment that forms between a baby and her parents after
Bonding can take place in the minutes, hours, or days after birth.
It is not always possible to bond immediately. A complicated delivery or
tired and worried parents can delay bonding. This is normal and is okay. Bonding
can happen at any time.
Newborns communicate though touch and with eye-to-eye contact and by making
sounds. They respond to your touch, facial expressions, and voice.
Parents can enjoy many natural bonding activities with their child, including
cuddling, feeding, singing, reading, and talking.
Call the doctor if you have questions or concerns about your own health
or your child's health. Call if you have symptoms of postpartum depression.
Bantum. Bonding with Your New Baby. Bantam. American Academy of Pediatrics.
http://www.medem.com/ 1999 (cited 2002 May 8).
Ho W and McBride M. Bonding with Your Baby. KidsHealth. http://kidshealth.org/
2001 March (cited 2002 May 8).
Rutherford K. Learning, Play, and Your Newborn. KidsHealth. http://www.kidshealth.org/
2001 May (cited 2002 May 8).
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