5 Ways to Strengthen the Bond with your Baby
Before you had your baby, you probably imagined what it was going to be like when they arrived; endless hours spent staring into their big, beautiful eyes, falling deeper in love with every breath your perfect baby takes. (maybe even you getting some sleep!)
In reality it isn’t always as idyllic as this. Instead, you might be faced with a colic monster that doesn’t seem to stop screaming long enough for you to stare at them longingly, or are yet to decipher what it is your baby wants at any given time. As you try desperately to keep your own eyes open through the exhaustion, it can seem as if this baby you brought home is an alien and that what you imagined is still a billion light years away.
Regardless of what your own personal experience is, bonding with your baby isn’t always easy, and if after giving yourself a few weeks to adjust to your new role, it is something you are worried about then it is worth having a chat with your health visitor. However, just like many things in life, creating and strengthening the bond with your baby is also something we can learn and get better at.
New parents assume that the art of parenting should come naturally but we can all benefit from learning tools and techniques to help us strengthen our bond.
Here are 5 ways you can work on strengthening the bond between the two of you and enjoying your time together.
1) Time is how babies spell love
Your baby wants you to be around. The more time you spend together the deeper your bond will be. That isn’t to say that you don’t deserve breaks or that this would be harmful to your bond, but it does mean that when you are together you should make the most of that time. Skin to skin and eye to eye contact both promote bonding. Follow your instinct around what your baby needs, hold and comfort them when they cry, when they are hungry, feed them, and in between just enjoy being together without any other expectations. This is important because small babies just want their needs met and if you respond they will develop a sense of trust in your relationship. Touching and eye contact also aids the promotion of oxytocin, the hormone of love in both of you. (Read more about this wonderful chemical HERE)
2) Look closely
It can be hard to feel close to your baby if you feel you can’t communicate and understand their needs very easily. However, your baby will start to communicate with you long before they can talk. One way they do this is through their facial expressions. Look closely and pay attention, you will learn a lot. By studying their facial expressions, along with other "cues" that they give you such as the way they hold or move their body and the sounds they make you will learn what they like and dislike which is very helpful in your daily routine.
3) Create routines
When your baby knows what to expect they will be more relaxed, it also helps you grow in confidence as you become accustomed to the routine too and start to get the feeling that you know what you’re doing. When we say routine it is up to you how you interpret that, if you are someone who wants everything scheduled then you could create a daily routine, you may want a night time routine to promote a happy sleeper, on the other hand, you could just find a way that your baby likes to be rocked, held or patted, maybe they even like it to a certain song or rhythm or they like to hear you sing. Whenever you embark on your routine, in whatever form that takes, you and your baby will feel at ease knowing what is coming next, this creates calm happy baby and mum; the perfect mood for bonding.
When your baby cries they are asking you for something but understanding what can be tough, especially when they don’t seem to know themselves. Just like with the facial expressions, pay attention. The way that they cry may indicate different needs, a whimper for example may indicate the need for comfort but a full on screaming temper could be hunger. Every baby is unique, but the more you listen to the way your baby communicates their needs the easier they become to decipher, allowing you to respond appropriately.
5) Baby massage and yoga
As previously mentioned, touch is a vital part of the bonding process. Baby massage is a fabulous way to promote touch between you and baby in a relaxed environment. It is a process that eases stress for both of you and has additional benefits including increased circulation and easing of digestion issues. Baby yoga also involves close contact and communication, adding the benefits of movement to those of touch.
Promoting Bonding at Tots Play
At Tots Play our aim is to encourage and support both the bonding process between you and your baby and their overall development, and our classes are an ideal place to find the space and time for your relationship to flourish.
During our Baby Development course (a special 6 week course just for babies from birth to 6 months), we talk a lot about the communication "cues" your baby gives you and what to look out for, as well as introducing you to some simple tips, techniques and activities to try out together in those early weeks, including a full body massage routine, and a variety of yoga poses and movements. Through the course you will not only have the opportunity to spend focused time together, but also learn more about what your baby enjoys and responds to so you can tailor your activities and routines to suit your baby's personality, both at class and at home too.
As your baby grows, you might also like to join us at our weekly classes, which continue into the toddler years and offers a multi-sensory approach to fun and learning with yoga, massage, music, sign language and sensory play all included within the sessions.
Above all we aim to provide an environment that feels safe and enriching for you and your child, so you can enjoy special moments together and create lasting memories.
Why not come and give it a try for yourself? Find your local classes HERE.
No classes near you yet? Find out how to run your own through our competitive franchise programme.
Even if the reality of life with a young baby doesn't always live up to our pre-baby fantasies, I'm sure you will agree that there are many special moments that make it all worthwhile. Come and make the most of them at Tots Play soon, but in the meantime happy playing!
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