Crafting Connections: A Guide to Strengthening Your Bond with Your Baby  

  • Feb 06, 2024
  • Posted by Dr Charlotte Cousins

Crafting Connections: A Guide to Strengthening Your Bond with Your Baby  

Many of us will be familiar with the term ‘rush of love’. This term refers to instantaneous and overwhelming feelings of love towards our baby once they are born. New parents come to expect that we will feel this rush of love and worry what it means if we don’t. However, the reality is that not everyone will feel this instantaneous rush of love. Many new parents worry that not experiencing the rush of love says something about them as a parent or a person, and that it means that they will never love their baby. For most parents, this simply is not the case.  

Meeting your baby after carrying them or preparing to meet them for nine months is a big moment, and it can feel very hard to compute that the baby in your arms is in fact that baby that was inside you or your partner but a few moments ago. Given all that is going on for new parents, it’s understandable that we might need a few moments to catch our breath and take in what is happening and that we don’t necessarily feel consumed by love for our child the moment we see them.  

Most of us as parents hold unhelpful and unrealistic assumptions and expectations when it comes to forming a relationship with our baby. We expect that when we see our baby for the first time not only will we have a rush of love as outlined above but that we will somehow know them and have some form of established relationship with them. Our relationship with our baby is like all other relationships in our life, it takes time to develop and is dynamic. Even if you feel as though you started to form a relationship with your baby during pregnancy, you will likely still feel as though you need some time to get to know each other and find your rhythm once your baby is here. This is completely normal.  

Whilst it is normal and understandable for it to take time to build a relationship with your baby, there are some things that we can do to help with this process.  

  1. Time, Patience and Trust – A relationship isn’t something that can be rushed or forced. Be patient with yourself and your baby, give yourselves time and trust in the process. Trust that over time you will find your rhythm and flow together.  
  1. Skin to Skin Contact – We often hear skin to skin contact be spoken about in the time immediately after birth. Whilst it is really important during this time, it continues to be incredibly beneficial to baby and parents in the weeks and months that follow birth. The close proximity and contact that occurs during skin to skin releases the hormone Oxytocin, for parents and baby. Oxytocin is often referred to as the ‘cuddle hormone’ as it makes us feel good and connected to others. Try building skin to skin contact into your everyday routine with your baby. Some great times to try skin to skin are whilst getting your baby to sleep or having a bath together.  
  1. Moments of connection – Try to find moments to connect with your baby by looking in their eyes and interacting with them. Try talking or singing to them. Some people find talking to their baby feels really weird and uncomfortable. Try narrating what you are doing, comment on what you can see around you or what you are noticing your baby doing.  
  1. Play to your strengths – There will be parts of parenthood you like more and find easier than other parts. Some parents love bath time, others hate it and much prefer to read a story or play. This is completely understandable and normal. Think about the parts you enjoy most and that make you feel most connected to your baby. Think about what works best for you and try to incorporate as much of this into your daily routine as possible.  
  1. Quality not quantity – We don’t have to spend every waking minute with our baby to develop a strong and positive relationship. It’s ok, and in fact healthy, for your baby to spend time with other people, try to focus on the quality of the time you spend together rather than the quantity. It’s ok for you to take a break, take time for yourself and ask for support.  

Some people will continue to struggle to form a relationship with their baby. They may find themselves feeling disconnected with their baby for a sustained period of time. Understandably, this can be really distressing and feel very difficult to talk about. However, this is common and may be a sign or symptom of post-natal depression. At Sage Clinics, our highly trained clinicians have experience of working with individuals, couples and families experiencing difficulties forming a relationship with their baby. We offer evidence-based psychological and psychiatric treatment, including parent-infant therapy.  

 

Written by: Dr Charlotte Cousins

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