Wednesday 7 August 2013

Baby bonding - part 1

Before you have a baby, there's a lot of talk about bonding, from your midwife to the baby magazines. What's important to know before you have a baby is that bonding takes time.

Not enough is said in my opinion about how it can be tough for mums as well as dads to bond with their newborn babies. You've never met your baby before and you need a little time to get to know them, and they to know you. 

Depending on the the type of birth you had, you might be feeling worse than you ever had before; perhaps you've had stitches making it hard to sit or the sleep deprivation has hit you hard. Some mums have it even harder than this, if they and / or baby has needed a prolonged hospital stay.

When you bring your newborn home, it's such a weird rush of emotions. Nothing has been anticipated so much in your life before yet you still have no clue as to what to do next; you just let baby and instinct lead the way. Oh, and Google. Google fast becomes a new parent's best friend when working out if that rash is normal or if baby is getting enough milk. A new parent is desperate to know they are doing things right and that their baby is normal, because your new at it and as everyone knows, babies aren't born with an instruction manual. But there is no right and there is no normal per say. Just a general idea of what you should do, know and feel.

Not enough people talk about the feeling side of things. I blame Hollywood for giving expectant parents a pain of rose tinted glasses through which to view the arrival of a new bundle of joy. All the tricky parts are always a source of amusement in films and are short lives. Not once have I see a new mum depicted in a film crying at the fact her husband has bought her fish and chips from dinner. But I did and until you have, you won't understand how much of an emotional rollercoaster you are with all those hormones going crazy.

The second your baby is born, your life is changed and you are a different person. But you might not feel the overwhelming rush straight away. You still like watching trash TV. You can't wait for your first alcoholic drink. You wonder whether you'll ever fit in your jeans again. Yet you're now a mum and there's this little person dependent on you for everything, every second of the day.

It's a big role to fill and one you have to learn as you go. You and your baby need to get to know each other and work on your bond. There's no denying the love you feel for your baby from the second they're born, hey, conceived, but it takes a little longer to get to know who they are and feel your connection grow as they grow more responsive.

My advice is give yourself and your baby time to bond. Just being there, caring for them will be enough. You'll be suprised how you seem to have an innate link to your child, whenever they cry or when they start to smile at you (a time where you really feel the bond between you). 

Hold them close on your skin whenever you can in those early days. Take time looking in their eyes. Talk to them whenever and wherever. And think about doing a baby massage class. I had read about the benefits of baby massage when I was pregnant - from calming baby and making them feel relaxed and safe to helping with their digestion and aiding smooth sleeping patterns, there's a lot going for it.

We've just completed a four week course and my bond with my baby is stronger than ever. In my next post, I'll share my thoughts on the class and will provide a bit more background on how baby massage can help you build your bond with your baby.

The way I can explain the bond you feel with your baby to begin with is this; when you met your partner, you may have known they were special from the moment you met and all you could think of was them, with butterflies in your stomach from excitement and nerves, but it took a little time to fall head over heels in love. But believe me, it won't take long for you to fall and you'll keep falling every day.


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