Bonding doesn’t always happen straight away, and it can take some work. Bonding often happens naturally for a mum, with her giving birth, breastfeeding and being the overall primary caregiver. However, when it comes to the rest of the family, your partner, and other children, bonding needs to happen through other ways, and there are some great ways to encourage bonding between your family and the newest little member. Helping your family bond with your new baby will only strengthen your family structure.
Dad and Baby Bonding
It is easy for a mum to build a bond with her baby during pregnancy, feeling the kicks and the changes in her body. Dads can also benefit from bonding during pregnancy as well. As a mum, you should encourage your partner to feel the baby kick when possible and to visit prenatal visits and scans when they can.
Once your baby is born, your partner can help with feeding if your baby is bottle-fed. If your baby is breastfed, dad can help with nappy changing, bathing or putting the baby to sleep. This will help encourage a really strong bond from early on, and it will also give you a chance to have a little rest!
Dads need to have skin on skin contact with their baby when it is possible, from as early as when your baby is born. When your baby is home, your partner can continue to practice skin on skin. This is such an incredible, intimate way to form a bond, and your baby will begin to feel safe and comfortable with their dad.
Sibling and Baby Bonding
How your other children bond with their new sibling will depend on their age. Older siblings can help with feeds and diaper changes, as well as just spending time playing with their little sibling.
You should also have your other children involved throughout the pregnancy, letting them feel the baby kick, and showing them scans and explaining the process to them along the way.
When your baby is home, siblings can have story time with them, play with them during playtime, or even sing them some fun songs.
These special activities or tasks will not only encourage bonding between siblings but will help build a sense of responsibility for older siblings as well.
The Importance Of Bonding
Bonding is more than just a warm, fuzzy feeling. It gives your baby the building blocks to build intimate relationships throughout life, having the ability to build trust with others, and giving them a sense of security.
From a parent’s point of view, bonding with your baby will help to awaken your sense of responsibility and ‘mum senses’ and makes you more aware of your baby’s different needs throughout the day.
Bonding is not always automatic for mums either. To help with bonding, practice skin on skin from as early as possible. Not only will this build a connection, but helps to stimulate the release of milk for breastfeeding as well.
Take in all the special moments, put your phone away during feeding time and take in all of your new baby’s beauty. Encouraging your family to bond with your baby will allow them to be more in-tune with the baby’s needs, and will help to build a strong, trusting and loving family environment.