Bonding is the process whereby a mother and her baby build up an attachment, which starts when baby is still in the womb.
All the expressions your baby uses to interact with you (gurgles, smiles, crying) are typical of human behaviour and, believe it or not, are historically linked to our sense of survival.
In the 1960’s, the neuropsychiatrist John Bowlby was the first researcher to establish the theory that each child naturally tries to attract their parents attention in order to feel protected. By doing this, human beings, from when they are babies, show they are ready to forge meaningful relationships with their parents – the mother/child bond being case in point.
Every moment is a chance for you and your baby to enjoy your special relationship. You’ll find that mother-baby bonding is not just about the need to feed, but also takes place through many sensations, all of which are tactile.
So how best do we form that indescribable bond between mother and child? Try some of these simple tips to bring you closer to your baby.
- At birth, the simplest and most effective way to start bonding is to hold your naked baby against your chest right away. If you are naked, even better. Skin-on-skin contact as they enter the world is soothing, reassuring and a great way to initiate bonding between you.
- Breast-feeding. We all know that breast feeding is the ideal nutritional solution for babies, but the best possible bonding time is also gained this way as baby gains his nourishment from mom, smells and feels her skin, gains comfort from the soft texture of the breast and usually falls asleep safe in the knowledge he is protected.
If you can’t breast-feed or choose not to, you can still create this bonding every day at feeding times by incorporating a nursing cushion, an angled teat bottle that best resembles the breast and of course mama’s warm embrace. Try Chicco’s Natural Feeling range of bottles from newborn upwards to give you a 96% latch rate and a reassurance that baby is feeding as they should be.
- Let them hear your voice. Talking and singing to your child creates a familiarity and brings them comfort as they start to recognise tone and mood of your voice. Yours will be the first they smile to when the time comes.
- Massage. Take the time after bathing to gently massage your baby’s muscles. Look for a light massage oil like the Chicco Baby Moments Massage Oil – and don’t forget their little feet.
- Baby slings. Going for walks with the family is always great bonding time and if you carry baby in a body sling it gives him extra comfort as he snuggles close to your body. Look for the Myamaki Sling or the Ultra Soft Sling by Chicco.
- And don’t forget the cuddles. When you cuddle your baby you transmit warmth, softness and a smell that’s unique to only the two of you, creating a great foundation for your future lives together.
Every moment you have creates an opportunity to share something unique and invaluable with your baby. Enjoy their early years and don’t be afraid to take this time to revel in the magic of motherhood while they are still young.