When new mums first set eyes on their newborns it can be a very overwhelming experience. At once you feel a rush of love as well as fear that you won't be able to protect this precious little thing. Don't worry, this is a totally normal reaction! However, whilst most mums feel this way, some will find it hard to form an instant attachment to their babies, especially if they suffered from long and painful births. Rest assured, even parents who were seperated from their children soon after birth, (for medical reasons for instance), or who have adopted older children can go on to form very strong bonds with their children.
If you are worried about how you feel towards your newborn, or how you will cope when your baby arrives, talk to your midwife who can help to calm your fears. Here are some tips to help strengthen that instant bonding process with your newborn:
Bonding is that intense attachment you feel when you look at your baby and want to cry, hug him, protect him and shower him with affection. The ties you form with your baby are so important because they provide your baby with his first strong intimate relationship which helps him to feel secure, confident and loved. So many of his social skills and emotional development rests on his relationship with those around him from a very early age.
Skin to skin
As soon as your baby’s born, put him - or ask him to be put - onto your chest for a cuddle. This skin-to-skin contact is very important and will help you to feel close and connected to him. If you have had a caesarean section, as opposed to a natural birth, don't worry. According to gurgle expert Alison Brown, it is still possible for you both to have a cuddle.
Talk to your baby
You may feel silly but your baby will already be very familiar with your voice and will feel comforted to hear you speaking as it was a sound he used to hear in the womb. in fact, your baby will have been able to hear you by the time you were around four months pregnant.
As long as you feel up to it, try to feed your baby within the first hour after birth. You may feel tired and your baby may be sleepy, but it can help to establish breastfeeding from the beginning and will strengthen the bond between you.
Remember your emotions
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t feel that bond straightaway. Feelings of guilt are counterproductive and will help neither you nor your baby. Instead, talk to your nearest and dearest about your emotions and how you're finding motherhood. The chances are that you'll soon be overwhelmed by just how much you feel for that little person who loves you unconditionally.
Baby massage can also help to strengthen the bond between you and your baby; not only is it very relaxing for your baby, but it is a great way for the two of you to interact and get to know each other better. Talk to your GP or midwife about where you might be able to find a massage class in your local area.
Don't forget the dads..
Apart from breastfeeding, dads can do a lot of the suggestions above to help them bond with their newborns. Learning how to soothe your baby can also help das bond with their little ones; don’t fall into the trap of simply handing the baby back to mum when she cries. Dads can be just as good at soothing babies as mums, and learning what is upsetting your baby and how to solve it is the first form of communication between babies and parents.
Bust most of all, congratulations on becoming a mummy to your wonderful newborn!