Bonding is the close connection between parents and their baby. You bond naturally with your baby just by spending time together. Holding and caring for your baby teaches your baby to trust you. Having a strong bond with you builds a foundation for positive relationships throughout your child's life.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you bond with your baby?
- Respond to your baby's crying. You will not spoil your baby. In fact, when you meet your baby's physical and emotional needs, your baby learns that the world is a safe place.
- Make eye contact with your baby often, such as during feedings. Your baby loves to look at your face and eyes. When you cuddle your baby in the curve of your arm, you are the perfect distance apart for your baby to see you well.
- Keep your baby warm, snug, and close to you. You may want to use a baby carrier. You also can swaddle or wrap your baby in a blanket to create a comforting, womb-like feeling. When you swaddle your baby, keep the blanket loose around the hips and legs. If the legs are wrapped tightly or straight, hip problems may develop.
- Try to hold your baby skin-to-skin as much as possible. You can do this when you breastfeed or bottle-feed. You also can take a bath with your baby. Babies often enjoy the warm water as well as the close contact.
- Smile at, gently rock, and talk and sing to your baby.
How can you help an older child bond with the baby?
- Tell your older child that your love for the baby will not replace your love for him or her.
- Let your older child know that he or she has an important role in the family. For example, you might say, "You are sister's only big brother. You can help us teach her about life. That's very special."
- Visit your local library or bookstore to get books about having a new baby in the home.
- Know that sibling rivalry often gets worse after the baby is past the newborn stage, when your older child realizes that this new baby is here to stay.
- Give your older child tasks to do for the baby. The tasks can be made to fit your child's age and abilities. Your child can bring diapers, help choose the baby's clothing, and help the baby get dressed. He or she also can help feed the baby and push the stroller.
- Praise your child for helping with the baby.
- Plan time alone with your older child. This can help him or her to have something to look forward to when your attention is on the baby.
- Let your child know that sometimes people will give the baby more attention. "When we go to the party, your baby brother will get a lot of attention. That's because people love babies, not because they do not like you."
- Give your older child extra love when other people focus on the baby. Also, ask close friends or relatives to give the older child extra attention in these situations.
When should you call for help?
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You want more information on caring for or bonding with your baby.
Where can you learn more?
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