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The Importance of Infant Bonding
From the moment you receive a positive pregnancy test, it begins. The worries about your baby; the wonder about their future; and the questions about what kind of parent you will be. All of this is very normal, and even the most seasoned parents experience a barrage of emotions and questions with each pregnancy.
These feelings also help begin the natural process of bonding with the new life growing inside you. While each parent experiences pregnancy uniquely, it’s important to begin the bonding process, long before holding your new baby in your arms.
The brain is wired to seek safety, and it’s important to establish your baby’s sense of security. That begins with feeling confident and secure in your own environment. Although pregnancy and new parenthood can feel very overwhelming at times--hormones, sleep deprivation, emotional and financial stress can each take a toll--remember that you’re never alone. Find a trusted friend who can offer a listening ear – more people have experienced the same feelings than you might think. Ask for help around the house or for a break to recharge yourself with a nap. Make an effort to meet up with friends or set a “playdate.” Rest and social interaction help provide the energy you need to care for baby, and helps you bond naturally.
Once baby arrives, babywearing and skin-to-skin contact not only promotes successful breastfeeding, it also helps build baby’s sense of safety and security, as does baby massage, and talking to your baby. Invest in a comfortable, quality baby carrier, and settle in together. Forget the myths: it’s impossible to spoil an infant, so never hesitate to comfort and respond to their needs.
Research shows that infants begin recognizing their parents' facial expressions by three or four months of age. Receiving a big grin from your adoring baby is the most rewarding response to all your effort, and is merely the beginning of a lifelong bond.
Remember, there are also services and resources such as Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies’ MothersCare Line. Our confidential phone line can answer questions, provide support, or point you in the direction of local services. Call: (808) 951-6660 or toll-free: (888) 951-6661 for assistance.