Do you want to bond with your newborn baby but aren’t too sure how to reach out to them?
The first few months of parenthood are pretty overwhelming. Although you may feel an instant love for your baby, some people struggle to feel a true bond in the early weeks.
Making that connection and getting to know your baby takes time, so do not panic if you don’t feel like you have bonded with your newborn right away.
There are lots of fun and relaxing things you can do in the first few weeks to make bonding with your baby much easier.
Babies may seem like there’s not much to do with them apart from sleeping and eating. And the odd nappy change!
But they’re taking a lot more in than you realise, so don’t be afraid to get creative with them and try to reach them whenever you can.
Lots of eye contact and cuddles will work wonders when it comes to making that connection.
This type of interaction will also help your baby’s brain to develop as they grow.
Here are some gorgeous ways for you to bond with your newborn baby:
1. Dance with your baby
Get your favourite happy track on and hold your baby while you dance around the room.
Even if they look confused at first, they will enjoy the movement and it might even send them to sleep.
2. Sing to your baby
Everyone has a song that makes them feel sentimental. When I had my first baby I listened to Ed Sheeran’s Small Bump again and again.
The background to the song is quite sad, but when you listen to the lyrics its a beautiful song about parenthood. I used to well up when singing it to her!
Find a song – emotional or just happy – that you love and sing it to your baby whenever you want.
3. Take your baby’s foot and handprints
Another fun way to remember their tiny hands and feet is to paint them and print them to paper.
Your baby will be curious about what this new activity is and you get a memento of your newborn to keep.
4. Sit with your baby outside
Lay a blanket down on the grass and let your baby lay down on the blanket (if it’s not too sunny up there). Try to find a shady spot.
You could lay down next to your baby and point out the leaves on the trees around you or birds or anything you can see.
5. Read books together
These do not have to be baby books! Your baby does not understand what you are reading, and they won’t remember. You could read one of your own books out loud.
Your baby will love hearing the sound of your voice, and you get to read a real book that does not revolve around toys and talking animals.
6. Pull a few faces
Show your baby all of the expressions you can pull. You might get a smile if they are old enough, but they will definitely be fascinated.
You can play a game of pulling silly faces every now and then. But when you are with your baby the rest of the time show them a smile whenever you can.
Your baby can recognise when your face looks happy or stressed as they get used to life in the big wide world. Keeping your face open and happy will put them at ease.
7. Have a carpet picnic
Your baby won’t be eating of course, unless it’s milk time, but you could get down on the carpet with them to eat your lunch.
Tell your baby what you’re eating and they will love to watch you enjoy your food.
8. Play with a balloon
Balloons are fascinating to all kids!
Get a helium balloon and tie it to your baby’s ankle or wrist. Then watch as they kick and wriggle, causing the balloon to bounce about.
If you don’t have a helium balloon, just blow up a normal one and show your baby how you can bounce it about between your hands. Also try passing it to them so they can tap the balloon with their hands and feet.
9. Put stars on their bedroom ceiling
Glow in the dark stars are so perfect for a kid’s bedroom.
Why not put some on your newborn’s ceiling. Then you could close the curtains, turn off the lights and lay down on the floor together to gaze up at the ceiling. This is a cosy way to look at the stars for the first time with your little one.
A bath is a fantastic way to have fun and bond with your newborn baby.
Get lots of bubbles and a few toys, such as a jug to pour water from, and show your baby all of the fun things they can do in the water.
Your baby will love it even if you just pour a little water on their tummy and swish the bubbles around.
11. Baby massage
Massaging your baby will not only relax them, which is great just before a nap, but it also gives you a quiet moment with them to connect.
You could take a baby massage course. There are normally local ones dotted around all over the place so do some internet research.
But there are plenty of very simple tutorials online that you could follow too.
12. Show your baby your own childhood toys
Talk your baby through your own childhood toys! Tell them why you used to love them and specific memories you had.
Watching your baby respond and reach for the toys will be a nice experience for you. Plus your baby will love exploring new things and hearing your voice chatting about them.
13. Try some skin to skin
Nothing beats skin to skin contact when it comes to bonding with your baby.
Strip off your clothes, then your baby’s clothes (keep the nappy on though!) and then lay down in bed for a cuddle.
This causes your body to produce happy hormones, and also helps with breast milk production which is a bonus.
14. Take a walk
Pop your baby into a sling or put them in the buggy and take them for a walk somewhere.
You could stop on a bench and point out animals or flowers to them.
The fresh air will do you both good.
15. Hold eye contact during feeding
Hold eye contact with them and smile. You could talk to them, sing or just stay quiet and enjoy the peaceful moment.
16. Play peekaboo
When your baby is a newborn this game is great played when laying on the sofa. Prop yourself up and bring your legs together and pull your knees up so you are sat in a W position.
Next put your baby on your legs and play peekaboo. You could simply scrunch your eyes shut or cover your face with your hands (if you are confident your baby is secure in your lap).
Keep trying different variations of the game and tones of your voice to see if you can make your baby laugh.
17. Look in the mirror together
Hold your baby in front of you with one arm under their armpits and the other under their bottom and face them away from you.
Stand in front of a mirror and pull faces or mimic your baby. You could mimic their expressions.
If you can support your baby with one arm, you could point out features on their face and your face.
18. Keep a journal
After having a baby it can be common to feel quite lonely. There’s not many people to speak to during the day except your baby.
Keeping a journal about your thoughts and feelings could be really therapeutic for you. Use it as an outlet for your worries, and your wins!
One day, if you feel comfortable, you could even share it with your baby.
19. Take your baby out for a coffee
Have a coffee date with your little one!
Why not take a short walk or drive to reach a coffee shop and enjoy a short stint out with your baby. Take them out of their buggy and hold them to show them what’s going on around them.
Newborn babies can’t see very far, so they may not be able to take it all in, but the sounds and smells will fascinate them.
It’s also nice for you to get a change of scene and feel a little more normal after entering the whirlwind that is parenthood.
20. Rub noses
Hold your baby under the armpits with each of your hands and rub their nose. You could also try kissing each of their cheeks one at a time.
Speak to your baby while doing this. They will love this display of affection and it’s a lovely way of making eye contact and connecting with them.
21. Answer your baby’s cries
Build up your baby’s trust in you by answer their cries. Being a responsive parent will also make you feel better.
Although crying can be a big stress on you in the early weeks, remember that all babies do it. Being the one who figures out what it is your baby wants and helping them through it will help you feel more bonded to your little one.
What if you struggle to bond with your baby
It can be common to feel guilty or worried if you do not feel that immediate bond with your newborn baby.
But you need to know that it’s very normal for you to feel at a bit of a loss when it comes to your baby.
While you might love your baby when they are born, you don’t know them just yet!
Some people speak of a magical and instant connection, but in real life being handed a baby and all of the responsibility is scary. If you then don’t feel an immediate bond you may start to beat yourself up on top of that.
Rest assured that given a few weeks and a bit of quality time together you will start to feel that bond with your baby. Get to know them in any way you can.
One of the key things is to relax and surrender to this parenting thing. It is such a rollercoaster and the first few weeks are so hard.
Take it easy and try not to rush around too much. Just try to be and surrender to life as a mother.
Given time, you will feel that rush of love and connection to your baby.
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