Having bub snuggled in close to mum or dad in a baby carrier or sling
is a great way to have skin to skin contact, which is important for bonding with baby. Try switching up the pram for a baby carrier and head out for a walk. It can be a great tool for soothing unsettled babies (particularly during the dreaded witching hour) and may help them get some sleep. There is something very beautiful about having your baby fall asleep on you, knowing they feel safe and loved snuggled into your chest.
Playing and having fun together is a wonderful way to encourage bonding with baby. Take every opportunity to touch, pull faces at and make noises at your baby to see what they enjoy. Like all of us, every baby is unique and will be amused in their own way. It might take some trial and error to find what your baby likes, but that’s all part of getting to know one another. Kissing bubs toes at the change table, blowing raspberries on the tummy, smothering your little one with kisses, playing peekaboo or gently blowing air on bubs face might do the trick. You may find it’s the strangest thing that makes your baby happy but when you see their smile or hear their laugh you’ll be hooked.
Look your baby in the eyes and talk to them. Tell them a story, perhaps of how mum and dad met and fell in love, or about the day they were born. Say I love you and speak to your baby with a gentle, loving voice. You might be able to have a conversation with your baby when they start to babble, pausing for baby to answer and speaking back to them when they are silent. Not only can this help with speech development, it’s also a lovely way to strengthen your connection and boost bonding with baby.
Most babies love the bath, so it’s a great opportunity to spend some happy awake time together. It can be particularly special for dads who sometimes find bonding with baby difficult as they can’t breastfeed and may be away for long hours at work. Try to make the bath as much fun for the two of you as possible. Try playing music and singing, playing with toys together, or talking to bub. If your baby isn’t loving it, try these tips to make bath time tears free.
Sometimes, the arrival of a new baby can be overwhelming and bonding can be difficult. If you are feeling worried or concerned about bonding with your baby, please talk to your doctor or community health nurse.
There is no right or wrong way to bond with your baby, so why not get creative? It’s all about finding what works for you and your baby, incorporating lots of physical contact and engaging with your baby in a loving and positive way.