If you’ve recently become a mother, then it might seem like you can find information on virtually any aspect of child safety. You can learn how to travel safely with your baby, how to baby-proof your home, and there’s loads of literature about the benefits and drawbacks of formula versus breastmilk.

However, there seems to be this assumption sometimes that the moment you see your newborn, you will fall in love with them. The maternal instinct will kick in like magic, and you’ll do anything for your child from that point forward.

It’s a lovely thought, but what if you haven’t quite found it to be true? In those exhausting first weeks since the baby arrived, are you finding that the bonding process isn’t going as smoothly as you’d like?

There’s no cause for alarm. These feelings are perfectly natural, and in this article, we’ll talk about some ways you can bond in the early going.

bond

Look in the Mirror Together

If you have a full-length mirror in your home, it can be a smart idea to take some time and look into it with your young child. Babies don’t understand the concept of mirrors yet, but they’re learning about emotion. They pick up on lots of those cues from you, and they’ll be fascinated by their reflection and yours. You can:

  • Smile
  • Frown
  • Laugh
  • Wave and execute other simple motions

Showing exaggerated emotions and emoting like an actor allows your baby to start picking up on the full range of human feelings. It’s a critical part of their development, and a great way to bond.

Breastfeeding

Just about any Mommy-and-me blog will tell you to breastfeed your child, but it’s a great thing to do if you can. Sometimes you might be sore and not in the mood, but few bonding activities are better for the two of you. Breastfeeding:

  • Allows the child to learn your scent
  • Gives them the reassurance of skin-to-skin contact
  • Lets them hear your heartbeat

If you do opt for formula instead, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just be sure to maintain eye contact with the child as you do so. It’s good for them to have an association with you as a source of comfort and nutrition.

Go for a Walk in the Woods

If your baby is getting a little older, another excellent bonding activity is putting them in their stroller and going for a walk around the neighborhood park or through the woods, provided the way is not too arduous. Nature has a calming effect on humans, and that’s certainly the case with both mothers and infants. It’s a way to reconnect with our ancestral roots.

A little later, when your child is learning to walk, you can go to a playground or another safe environment and encourage them as they become more ambulatory. For now, the sun on their face, the feel of a cool breeze, and your smile and laughter will work wonders.

Put Away the Electronic Devices

We live in an era where much of our time is monopolized by our cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. There’s a lot that you can accomplish with these modern marvels, but they won’t do you much good as you’re trying to bond with your new arrival.

If you’re going to have some mother-baby time at home, put the phone away. You can put it on mute, or turn it off entirely unless you’re expecting an urgent call or text. Your child can sense when you’re making them the center of your world, and they appreciate it.

Making the conscious effort to focus on them for a time is one of the most motherly things that you can do.

Try to Get on the Same Sleep Schedule

It might not be easy, but if you can rest at the same time as they do, you’re going to be much alert when they awaken. This might mean grabbing your beauty sleep in the form of 2-3-hour intervals rather than the full night of sleep you’re used to getting. If you can manage it, though, hopefully, you won’t be cranky when the child wakes up and wants to start interacting with you again.

If you can sleep with the child making physical contact with you, that’s great. That way, you’ll be bonding even as the two of you slumber.

If you follow these tips, then soon, you and your child should be inseparable with a beautiful bond, and you’ll eagerly look forward to the fun developmental stages that are to come.  

This is a contributed post

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Claire Kirby

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