Parental Bonding: When and How It Happens

Are you worried about being a good mom to your babe? That’s a natural impulse every new parent has felt and when you feel the anxiety, remember that pregnant women possess the power to bond with their little ones. A recent study confirms the link between pregnancy and baby brain or declined cognitive function during pregnancy and the lead researcher, Sasha Davies, says this study and similar research may suggest this is nature’s way of creating the mental space necessary to be a new mama. Another study shows that positive thinking about parenthood during pregnancy spurs a positive mother-child relationship in the future. The takeaway? You’re a beautiful and amazing mama from the start and here’s some extra advice on how-to bond with your baby from the womb and beyond.

Making Prenatal Connections

  • Sign-up for a prenatal course. In one study, researchers found that participating in five one-hour classes during the first and second trimesters had a positive influence on bonding between moms and babies.  That’s great news especially since there are so many ways to get informed and enjoy your pregnancy. Whether it’s a pre-natal yoga class or hands-on course about infant CPR or breastfeeding, every step you—and your partner—make towards your life as a parent is a step towards bonding with your babe.
  • Rock a tune. While your baby is cocooned in the comfort of your belly, start singing them the lullaby that you’ll be depending on during the long nights ahead.  Researchers found that the babies of moms who played “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” multiple times a week while they were pregnant responded to the music both at birth and again at 4 months old.  It’s a striking observation that suggests baby is likely listening during pregnancy and singing is an opportunity to establish a bond—and introduce the joy of music—before the big birth day.

Bonding After Delivery

  • Take it slow and steady. Like any natural process, bonding takes time, so if you don’t feel an instant mind meld, choose to enjoy a leisurely path towards building a close relationship with your babe. How quickly you get in sync with your baby is unique, and if you experienced labour complications, give yourself extra time and space to bond while you heal. During the newborn transition, both parents can indulge in the little things such as simply looking baby in the eyes, talking, cuddling and kissing to encourage a relationship that will grow from day one.
  • Try kangaroo care. For many new parents, the first skin-to-skin contact with baby is a magical moment. More than a feel-good habit, skin-to-skin contact has been shown to minimize crying, encourage sleep, and help babies breathe better. It’s also beneficial for parents, helping you to feel closer to your baby. Feeding, snuggling and baby-wearing are more ways to encourage physical and emotional closeness while nurturing attachment to your growing baby.

Bonding with your baby is a journey that varies from one parent to the next. Share your story!

How old was your baby when you felt secure about your bond with them?

Did you try attachment parenting? Why or why not?

How does your partner or caregiver nurture their bond with baby?