Bonding is a strong attachment that develops between parents and their child. This makes parents want to shower their child with love and tenderness, to protect and take care of him. Attachment causes parents to get up in the middle of the night to feed a hungry child and causes them to be attentive to the child’s wide range of calls. Scientists are still learning a lot about the connection. They know that strong bonds between parents and their child provide the child with the first model of intimacy and promote a sense of security and positive self-esteem.
And parental responses to an infant’s cues can affect a child’s social and cognitive development. Bonding with your baby is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of caring for an infant. You can start by cradling the baby and gently rocking or petting him or her. If you and your partner often hold and touch your baby, your baby will soon learn the difference between your touches. You both can also take the opportunity to be skin-to-skin with your newborn by holding him or her against your own skin while nursing or rocking.
Babies, especially premature babies and children with health problems, may react to baby massage. Since children are not as strong as adults, you need to be very careful when massaging the child. Before you try baby massage, be sure to learn the right techniques by looking at the many books, videos, and websites on the subject. You can also check with your local hospital to see if baby massage classes are available in your area.
Breastfeeding and bottle feeding are natural times for bonding. Babies respond to the smell and touch of their mother, as well as to the responsiveness of their parents to their needs. In uncomplicated births, caregivers try to take advantage of the baby’s wakefulness immediately after birth and encourage feeding and holding the baby. However, this is not always possible, and although ideally, immediate contact is not necessary for the future bond between the child and the parent.