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Mommy – Baby Bonding – Strategies, Tips and Myths
The myth of instant bonding
Many mothers expect to feel bonded with their new baby right away, as if the birthing process creates instant love and connection. However, feeling connected and in love with your baby may not happen so quickly. Bonding is often a gradual process that begins during pregnancy (or even conception) and continues long after your baby is born.
Let go of worry
New moms have enough to worry about without adding bonds to their list:
– “Is it happening?” – “Am I connecting enough?” – “Am I doing this right?”
these are questions that cause mothers unnecessary anxiety and stress. Get out of your worry and realize that your physical and mental state affects how you bond and feel with your child. Focus on yourself, on what you need to feel good physically and emotionally, to be more present and available to your baby.
Ensure your optimal mood
BEFORE YOUR NEB ARRIVES:
Create a birth plan and send it to the head nurse at the hospital where you will give birth. List all the things you need to feel comfortable and at ease during your labor and after your baby is born, for example:
- o I want to be with my baby at all times, even during bathing and testing.
- o I am breastfeeding, so please do not offer a bottle or pacifier to my baby.
- o I don’t mind a pacifier, but please check with me first.
- o I’m not breastfeeding so formula is fine.
- o Please do not bathe my baby after delivery.
- o I would like to breastfeed my baby as soon as it is born (if medically feasible).
TO THE HOSPITAL:
- o Hold your baby right after birth, unless medical complications arise.
- o Breastfeed, if you feel comfortable with that choice.
- o Keep your newborn skin-to-skin.
- o Sleep in the same room as your child (if you feel like it).
- o Hold your baby as much as you like.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE HOME:
Leaving the hospital and caring for your newborn at home can be scary, stressful and exhausting. A few basic tips can ease this transition and make bonding joyful and easier for you and your child.
– Take time to adjust:
For two weeks (at least) after your baby is born, have a nesting period where all commitments outside of caring for yourself and your child are off (which includes cleaning, cooking, entertaining, etc. .). If you have a partner, they must accompany you during the “nesting” period, as far as their schedule allows.
Mothers need time to adjust, at their own pace and with ample support, to both their new role and their new baby.
– Give yourself love, comfort and care:
Before you give birth (or after reading this e-zine), create a support network to turn to after your baby is born: whether it’s a doula, a trusted friend, a babysitter, or a loving, supportive family member, have someone on call who can relieve you of cooking, cleaning and babysitting. Take time to rest, pamper yourself, chat with supportive friends, take stock, recharge and breathe.
Let your support network know in advance that you will need their services beyond the first two weeks of your baby’s life.
– Leave your expectations behind and live in the fullness of each moment:
Let go of the idea that you’re supposed to be happy all the time after your baby arrives. Conflicting feelings about motherhood and babies are common. Feeling a range of emotions: happy, overwhelmed, frustrated, excited, disappointed, elated, sad, in love, etc. is normal and to be expected.
Remember: As a new mother, you will experience hormonal fluctuations. If you feel depressed for more than 2 weeks after giving birth (baby-blues usually affect the first week after giving birth and disappear within 2-3 weeks), seek professional help.
Live in the moment and enjoy all the feelings that arise during the first months of your baby’s life.
– Trust your instinct:
Make sure all the good guys want their advice at the door and trust what you know:
- o If your baby cries, feel free to pick him up as often as is convenient for you.
- o If you think your baby is hungry, feed him even if he has eaten only an hour before.
- o Carry your baby around the house in a sling or front carrier if she likes that (don’t listen to the naysayers that you’ll “spoil” your child).
- o Talk to your baby as much as you feel like it, even if you feel silly.
- o Breast or bottle feed as appropriate you.
- o Determine where you are most comfortable with your baby sleeping (in a bassinet, a co-sleeper, your bed, a crib, etc.).
Above all, take the time to get to know your baby. The more time you spend with your child, watching their reactions and attending to their needs, the more in sync and connected you will be.
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