We hear this term so often that is has the danger of becoming meaningless, when in fact it is a critical part of building a trusting and loving relationship between you and your baby. Bonding is the development of an emotional attachment and unconditional love between a parent and baby. It promotes a sense of security and wellbeing, and helps to build confidence, self esteem and trust. Young babies need to feel safe and protected, and you can help with this by cuddling your baby, gazing lovingly at him, and responding to his needs. All of this is what bonding is about.
Make time to bond:
Make eye contact
This is one of the first ways that your baby communicates with you. Gaze lovingly into your baby’s eyes and watch how he gazes back at you. Newborns are attracted to the human face and your face will be your baby’s favourite .
Skin on skin contact
Feel good hormones are released when you and your baby have direct skin contact. It has the added benefits to your baby of better digestion, temperature regulation, improved immunity and improved sleep.
If your baby cries, comfort and hold her. Knowing that you are there for her helps your baby to feel safe and protected, and builds trust between you.
Massage your baby
Loving touch is immensely beneficial and is an excellent way to soothe and get to know your baby.
Talk to your baby
Hearing the sound of your voice is soothing for your baby and the more your talk the better he becomes at recognising your voice. He will enjoy makings sounds back to you in `conversation’. Remember to use gesture, facial expressions and tone of voice when talking to your baby as this will help him to understand you better. Try to verbalise what you think your baby is feeling or expressing as this can help him to feel heard and acknowledged.
Read to your baby
Reading to your baby increases his understanding of the world, and teaches him that words have meaning.
Sing songs and say rhymes
Sing your own silly songs and rhymes as your baby will love the rhythm and repetition. Don’t forget to look at your baby when you sing and encourage him to babble his own rhymes and sounds along with you. Add touch and movement when you sing or say your rhymes to provide valuable added sensory input. Sign along to your favourite Clamber Club songs with your baby:
Dance with your baby
Dancing is a fun way to connect with your baby. Hold her close and move to the rhythm. Slow rhythmical movements can calm your baby and fast arrhythmical movements and activate and wake your baby up. Choose the music you need for the mood your are both in.
Play peek a boo
Make time to have fun together so that your baby knows that you enjoy his company. Peek a boo helps your baby to learn that you still exist, even if he can’t see you and helps to promote object permanence.
Stimulate the senses
Make a shaker rattle from an empty toothpaste box or a plastic water bottle, adding some rice or pasta so that it makes a sound when you shake it. Show your baby how to shake and bang it. Playing with your baby gives you the opportunity to have fun together and connect with each other. Here are more ideas on how to stimulate your baby:
For more ideas on how you can stimulate your baby at home download the Stimulate your Baby DVD series.