Babies need to bond with their caregivers to deal with the unfamiliarity that comes with their apparent world. For them, it’s like the support base they rely on to interact with their environment since they come into the world considerably young and clueless.
For this reason, we can say that bonding is the emotional connection babies need to feel safe in a world surrounded by uncertainty at every layer of their underdeveloped perception.
Furthermore, bonding plays a significant role in building babies’ emotional structure, helping them develop the proper emotional needs and reacting positively in emotional situations.
To help your baby bond the right way, parents must ensure their babies are bonding with the right people, emotionally intelligent people. That’s why it’s unhealthy to leave your baby exposed to every external influence—babies are vulnerable to external influence and very receptive too.
That’s precisely why you must protect them—allowing only selective exposure to the right people. This will help your child bond properly without developing any emotional defects.
What To Know About Bonding
Bonding refers to the act of babies developing a solid emotional connection with their parents or caregiver. It’s a system of survival through which they feel safe and determine who they can trust.
Bonding is an essential aspect of interaction in a baby’s life, and it also plays a significant role in the healthy development of infants.
Varieties of interactions like feeding, playing, cuddling, singing, reading, and other fun activities allow strong bonding between the parent and the baby.
Research has shown that early bonding between parents and babies plays a vital role in the baby’s development, including the ability to regulate emotions and form healthy relationships with others.
A positive early bond lays the foundation for your baby to grow up to become happy in life, and babies who have strong bonds with their parents tend to feel more secure.
Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby is another way of bonding. With this, your baby gets used to your scent.
Language development has been linked to strong parent-baby bonds.
Bonding allows for love, trust, and a special feeling shared between the baby and the parent.
Importance Of Bonding With Your Baby
Bonding helps a baby to develop self-esteem and learn how to control emotions.
It also helps your baby develop a loving spirit and care for others.
Bonding helps a baby to interact, communicate and form healthy relationships with their parents and peers.
Bonding plays a vital role in the mental development of your baby.
Research shows that the most critical stage of brain development is the beginning of one’s life.
The bonding experience between parents and babies enables millions of new connections in the brain. In addition, it helps release certain hormones in the brain, promoting rapid brain growth.
Bonding involves talking, singing lullabies, and even reading to your baby. This act develops vocabulary as the baby produces cute sounds, trying to communicate with you.
Development Of Trust And Feeling Secured
This is another crucial importance of bonding.
Since they are just coming into the world, a baby needs every form of assurance, attention, love, and care to feel loved.
Once this is created through bonding, the baby learns to trust and rely on you. Generally, the crucial time for brain development is during the infant phase.
Bonding influences your baby’s social, intellectual, physical, and emotional development. Babies with strong bonds with their parents grow up to be happy and independent adults.
What Happens When You Fail To Bond With Your Baby?
Do you ever wonder why your teenage child doesn’t fully involve you in their life?
I have noticed that most parents complain about their teenagers being unable to communicate appropriately with them.
This happens as a result of the failure of the parents to bond with them during their baby phase.
One significant impact of the lack of bonding on babies is that they develop problems with their behavior and deal with situations later in life.
Here are things that happen when you fail to bond with your baby;
This behavioral disorder affects a person’s ability to form and maintain relationships.
It is of two types; Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD) and Dis-inhibited Social Engagement Disorder(DSED).
Attachment Disorder most times develops from the baby phase and last for a long period due to a lack of bonding between the parent and the baby.
This could result in the baby seeking solace from someone other than their parents.
When the baby grows up without proper bonding with the parent, it can lead to poor problem-solving skills.
The baby may also experience a delay in language development.
Unable To Control Emotions
Sometimes, a baby needs eye contact with their parents. This assures them and makes them feel safe.
This is also a form of bonding; without this, the baby might be unable to deal with their emotions.
It Produces An Unhappy Baby
Bonding is a form of love, and without love, a baby will most likely be unhappy, which could lead to depression, aggressive behavior, anxiety, or being withdrawn later in life.
Why Do I Find It Difficult To Bond With My Baby?
You should note this; Bonding is a gradual process.
Research shows that one-third of new mothers struggle to bond with their babies.
Parents experiencing difficulty bonding with their babies are advised to socialize with other parents and interact with their babies more often by reading, talking, or singing.
Some mothers feel the need to bond with their babies immediately after birth, while others may not.
Yes, it’s normal not to immediately bond with your baby due to delivery stress or “Postpartum Depression (PPD).”
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a type of depression that occurs after giving birth, and it is the most common reason mothers do not bond with their babies.
It is estimated that one in seven women who give birth experience PPD, which usually affects the mother and her relationship with the baby.
It is characterized by intense mood swings, difficulty bonding with your baby, withdrawal, anger, insomnia, restlessness, panic attacks, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
This hinders the bonding process of the mum and baby, and it’s highly recommended you book a therapy session or contact a health care provider.
How Do I Know If I Have Created A Bond Between I and My Baby?
Do you want to know if you and your baby have a strong connection? I will list a few things that show the bond has been created;
One of the key ways to know if you have successfully bonded with your baby is through their facial expression.
Your baby smiles or laughs when he/she sees you or any familiar face. The sight of your face brings a happy feeling to them.
Babies tend to recognize their parents’ or caregivers’ voices during bonding, even from a distance. You will notice the way they react to the sound of your voice.
You become more attentive and understand every movement and behavior of your baby. You know what every sound and cry entails.
Eye contact is considered one of the most powerful keys to communication and bonding. So, if your baby smiles more often and makes eye contact with you, it indicates some level of emotional bond between you two.
A bonded baby is ordinarily free around you, makes cute sounds like cooing, and plays freely around you. As a result, the baby becomes more relaxed around you and interested in most things you do.
As a parent or caregiver, when you bond with your baby, you experience a strong emotional connection to them, like protectiveness and the need to care about and be around him/her. You equally look forward to holding and feeding your baby.
10 Effective Ways You Can Bond With Your Baby
You have heard about bonding yet still don’t know how to go about it.
Bonding takes time. So, you’ll need to be patient with your baby. It is a step-by-step process, and you need to trust the process to create a healthy bond between you and your baby.
- Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact
- Play with your baby
- Try to communicate
- Respond to your baby’s cry
- Eye contact and swaddling
- Fun activities
- Parent and baby’s date
- Spend a lot of time with your baby
Breastfeeding and Skin-to-Skin Contact
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways for a mum to bond with her baby.
The baby steals glances at the mum during this process, enabling them to recognize the mum’s face.
It equally promotes Skin-to-Skin Contact, which releases hormones such as Oxytocin, which helps promote parent-infant bonds, and beta-endorphin, which allows a mum to respond to her baby.
According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, “Women who breastfeed their babies for a longer period exhibit more maternal sensitivity well past the infant and toddler years.”
Maternal sensitivity is a mother’s ability to perceive the meaning behind her infant’s behavioral signals and respond to them.
Without adequate bonding, a mother won’t exhibit maternal sensitivity.
Play With Your Baby
Playing with your baby can help both of you bond properly, and it also helps your baby to develop social skills, gross motor skills, and cognitive flexibility.
Playing helps you connect with your baby on a deeper level.
During playtime, you will notice the undisputable smile on your baby’s face; this effective tool makes your baby happy.
They also learn to feel safe around you, yielding better parent-infant bonding.
Try To Communicate
When your baby makes little coos sounds, you must respond to their sound similarly.
The baby uses this means to communicate or even play with you, yielding a solid bond.
It also helps in the rapid language development of your baby.
Respond To Your Baby’s Cry
Most babies cry to pass a message to their parents, messages like feelings of discomfort or hunger.
When you respond to your baby’s cry, it automatically sends a message to your baby of how much you care and loves them.
This act enables bonding and comfort, knowing they can always turn to you.
Eye Contact And Swaddling
During feeding, eye contact is made between the baby and the parent. This contact reassures the baby and secures a strong bond.
Swaddling is an old practice of wrapping a baby up gently in a light and breathable blanket to help them sleep or be calm.
This has been discovered as another way of creating a bond with your baby because it makes them feel secure and safe.
Fun Activities like singing, dancing, talking, and laughing go a long way in developing a healthy relationship between babies and parents.
Parent And Babies’ Date
You can form a strong bond with your baby by setting a special date for you and your baby where you take your baby to a special place like Children’s playground.
Giving your baby random kisses helps them to develop a healthy relationship with you, as this could be an act of love.
Smooches sometimes make your baby smile and laugh.
Random baby massage is a period you can easily bond with your baby. You could use the moment to tingle, play and laugh with them. In addition, massage reduces stress for your baby.
Spend A Lot Of Time With Your Baby
Time and attention play a vital role in bonding with your little one.
When you spend a lot of time with your baby, every little detail about your baby will be known to you.
It makes them get used to your scent, voice, and face.
Bonding occurs when you constantly attend to your baby’s needs. This draws you closer to your baby and helps you understand every movement of your little one.
You can easily bond with your baby by smiling, breastfeeding, cuddling, playing, singing, dancing, and reading.
Having skin-to-skin contact develops a healthy relationship. Bonding equally helps your baby grow mentally and physically.
Lack of bonding can have a negative effect on your baby’s life when they grow up.
Bonding is not just for the mum alone; Daddies and siblings should be fully involved.
If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, contact a healthcare provider.