Birth Bonding is so important to the success of all of the other Baby B's. In the moments, days, and months immediately following your baby's birth you will build a connection with your baby that will get stronger with time. This connection will help you with breastfeeding and will lead to a better knowledge and understanding of your child.
3 Keys to Establishing the Bond:
1. Skin to skin and Touching
This is one of the most important things you can do with your baby and should be done (if medically possible) immediately after your baby is born. Laying with your baby on your chest not only helps your baby to learn to regulate its body temperature, but also calms your baby because of soothing sounds of your heartbeat and breathing. Skin to skin is also crucial for breastfeeding success as it helps to release the hormones that assist in lactation and nursing. Touch and stroke your baby's skin. It is calming and feels good, but it also stimulates your baby to breath regularly.
2. Talk to your baby and Make eye contact
Baby's can already distinguish Mommy's voice from others and the sound of her voice is calming and reassuring. When you talk to your baby make eye contact with him/her. "Your newborn can see best at a distance of about ten inches, which, incidentally, is the approximate distance from a mother's nipple to her eyes." (Attachment Parenting by Martha and William Sears)
3. Delay Separation and get some Privacy
In the moments immediately following the birth of your baby it is common practice that the baby is whisked away and weighed, measured, given eye drops, cleaned up, etc. Ask that this be put off until AFTER you have had a chance to spend some time with your baby. After all, right after your baby is born is the best time to try breastfeeding for the first time. There will plenty of time to get all of those routine procedures out of the way after you've met your little one. Then, once everything has been taken care of, ask that you be left alone for a while so you can devote all of your attention to your baby.
3 Keys to Keeping the Bond:
1. Take Maternity Leave
The weeks immediately following your baby's birth are when you will really establish the bond. You will spend hours holding, nursing, and getting to know each other. Taking this time off of work and other responsibilities give you the chance to focus ONLY on your baby.
2. Ask for help and Company
You can't do everything yourself (and you shouldn't have to). Remember, your are recovering from giving birth and should be taking it easy (at least as easy as you can with a new baby). Let Daddy help out, or ask the grandparents to help out with chores or meals. Right now it is more important that you spend time with your baby than worry about the housekeeping. It is also important that you have people around helping out so that you don't start to feel isolated. Those first weeks with a baby can be very stressful and having some company can keep you from feeling all alone.
3. Ban All Baby Trainers
I cannot stress this one enough! These first days and weeks are when you are learning about your child and how to react to his/her sounds and expressions. You should be following your instincts and doing what YOU feel is best for your particular baby. You should NOT be following some strict set of guidelines, routines, and schedules.
If you aren't able to bond with your baby immediately after birth for medical reasons there are still things you can do. If you end up with a c-section you may worry about not being able to bond immediately with your baby, but don't worry in most cases you will be able to be back with your baby in no time at all and can just pick up from there. In some more serious cases you may be separated from your baby if, for example, your baby ends up in the NICU.
If this is the case you can:
Do "Kangaroo Care". This is what they call skin to skin in most NICUs. When you visit with your baby you can still have skin to skin time with a blanket over baby's back.
Breastfeed. If you are able to breastfeed, do it as much as you can. If for some reason this is not a possibility you can still provide your baby with expressed milk.
Once you return home have LOTS of skin to skin time.
Remember! Daddy can do all of these things too! (Well, other than breastfeeding)
Make sure Daddy get in his fair share of skin to skin, touching, and talking with baby.
Come back for the next Baby B: Breastfeeding!
Source: Attachment Parenting by Martha and William Sears