Bonding with Your Baby

December 23, 2019

blog watch me bloom, recipes for growing me ~6 months, bonding with your baby, close up mother cradling baby to her chest in a swaddle

As the saying goes, “all you need is love” 💕. This couldn't be truer for your baby during infancy! At this stage, all your baby cares about is you and the physical and social world around them, so the best thing you can do is relax and simply enjoy being with your little one. Creating a nurturing and loving relationship is based on emotional connection and is an essential building block to your baby’s development and learning. 

History has shown us the many theorists who have examined the importance of relationships in infancy: Freudians who proposed that attention can establish personality traits; Erikson theorists who analyzed how experience through crises can impact later stages of development; Watson and Skinner who looked at behaviour patterns resulting from simple learned patterns in infancy [1], and today—seeing hospitals create ‘hugging programs’ for infants to experience the power of human touch if/when parents are not present. The one underlying commonality is early experiences in infancy can either have a positive or negative effect on later development. 

baby boy cradling mother's chin in his hands, sitting on window seat
Create positive bonding experiences with your baby by: 

  1. Massage: This is a beautiful form of communication. It lets your baby know they are safe and can slow down breathing and heart rate to become more relaxed (which has the added benefit of helping with sleep!) [2] If you are unsure how to begin, you might join a baby massage class in your local area (check out some of the Mommy Connection Groups or even try YouTube as a starting point).
  2. Smile: Have you ever heard that smiling produces a natural response from your brain to release endorphins (even if it is forced)? Smiling is good for you too! But smiling to your baby helps them learn and feel safe and secure. [3] And as infants learn to smile and laugh, it helps them develop a positive outlook later in life. [4]
  3. Cuddle and Skin-to-Skin Contact: This helps promote the emotional connection involving neural connections for emotion and sociality and can involve caregivers other than the mother, helping your baby feel safe and secure. [5]
  4. Read: Reading to your baby is associated with better language skills and a healthier interest in reading by school age. Reading with infants can also build nurturing relationships that are essential for cognitive, language and social-emotional development. [6] Check out one of our recent blogs: “When to start reading to your baby” for more information.
  5. Eye Contact: Using eye contact and facial expressions can help your baby understand the connection between what you are saying and feeling. [7]
  6. Talk and Sing: Not only does this help your baby understand language and recognize your voice, but it can also help your baby feel calmer. [8]

mom with blonde hair and black glasses tickling son on couch

Tidbit for your Tiny One
Many theorists argue that the attachment pattern set in infancy has very little variability in the future [9]; therefore, setting the stage at this precious time is critical for a long-lasting healthy relationship between you and your baby. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Early experiences in infancy affect later development
  • Bonding can include massage, smiling, contact, reading, talking and singing 
  • Even a forced smile can be beneficial for you and your baby
  • Bonding in early infancy can last a lifetime

In our book, Recipes for Growing Me ~6-months, we’ve highlighted the special bonding that happens between a mother and their baby in the womb. Some people may not get to experience this, however, there are many other special ways your baby can bond with others and make new beginnings the greatest beginnings! sample page from recipes for growing me ~6 months, baby's first cookbook, Love Me Forever pink hearts character illustration on white background and black lettering poem

And please don’t forget my heart is for...you!
I have heard your heartbeat 
And you have heard mine
Love me forever 
And I will always be fine

Start bonding with your baby today! And remember…don’t hog the blog! 
Share it with friends, caregivers or new moms and dads :)

Happy Holidays!
Sarah & Karen

P.S. Want to learn more from our baby’s first cookbook? Order now and use code BLOGHOG to enjoy 15% OFF baby’s first cookbook! It makes a wonderful gift.


*Bibliography:  

[1] Bornstein (2014). Human Infancy…and the Rest of the Lifespan. Annual Review Psychology; 65: 121-158. 

[2] https://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/the-benefits-of-baby-massage/

[3] https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/connecting-communicating/bonding/whats-in-a-smile

[4] Bornstein (2014). Human Infancy… and the Rest of the Lifespan. Annual Review Psychology; 65: 121-158.

[5] Bergman, N.J., Ludwig, R., Westrup, B., Welch, M. (2019). Nuturscience versus neuroscience: A case for rethinking perinatal mother-infant behaviors and relationship. Birth Defects Research. May 2019: 1-18. 

[6] American Academy of Pediatrics. (2014). Council on Early Childhood. Pediatrics, Vol. 134 (2).

[7] https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/connecting-communicating/bonding/bonding-newborns

[8] https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/connecting-communicating/bonding/bonding-newborns




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