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10 Baby bonding tips

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Bond with your baby

The bond between you and your baby is something that’s hard to describe. It’s what makes you OK with 3 a.m. feedings and ready to jump in between her and anything harmful. It’s what makes you ready to shower her with love, hugs and kisses, and it’s what lets her know that you’ll be there to provide all of those things.

mom singing to young baby

That intense attachment doesn't always happen overnight. Some moms feel it the second their baby is born, but others need days, weeks or months to experience it completely. If you don't feel that connection right away, don't worry — it'll come. And even if you do, there's always room for improvement. Try these ten tips to help you improve your bond with your baby.

Holding

Every time you hold your baby close, that bond will grow a little bit deeper. Pick her up, squeeze her tight and just be together. You'll connect because of the feeling of having her so close, and she'll soak in your smell and how you feel.

Eye contact

When you're holding your baby, take your eyes away from your television and set down your book. Take that time to just look at her. She'll look at you too. When she does, hold her gaze and make as much eye-to-eye contact as you can. It's amazing how it feels to look into your baby's eyes and have her look right back.

Feeding

Feeding time is one of the most natural ways to bond with your baby. It doesn't matter if you breast feed or bottle feed — you're meeting your baby's needs and both of you know that. It's also a great opportunity for eye-to-eye contact and skin-to-skin contact.

Skin-to-skin contact

Holding your baby close is a wonderful feeling, but there's nothing like the feeling of skin-to-skin contact with your little one. In the beginning you'll do it to provide her with your warmth, but even when she no longer needs that, keep it going. It'll make you feel closer to each other and strengthen your bond.

Soothing

Every time you calm and soothe your baby, your bond grows a little stronger. It grows for you because you know you can give her what she needs, and it grows for her because she learns to trust that you are there to provide for her.

Check out 5 Simple soothing techniques for fussy babies >>

Smiling

It doesn't take long for your baby to equate smiling with happiness. When you smile at her, she'll be happy and smile back. This mutual happiness will deepen your bond.

Massage

You love a great massage, but did you know your baby does too? A tummy massage can soothe a belly ache, and a massage on the arms and legs just feels good. Use a baby lotion to give your baby a massage once every day or two.

Read about The beauty and benefits of infant massage >>

Bath time

Bath time is a great time for skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, smiles, silliness and fun. After a long day without a lot of time together, a bath is a great way for some one-on-one bonding time.

Talking

Your baby loves to hear your voice. Don't hold back from conversation, even if she can't respond. Talk to her all day long, telling her what you're doing and why. Describe the things you see. Not only will she learn a lot about communication, but she'll feel soothed by hearing your voice.

Singing

You may not be a rock star, but she doesn't care. Sing to your baby. Sing her happy songs, silly songs, sad songs, country songs or rap — whatever strikes you (just keep it appropriate!). All she'll hear is how much you love her and want to see her smile.

Read how to Bring music into your baby's life >>

Quick Tip

If you're still not feeling bonded to your baby after a few months and you feel something may wrong, speak to your doctor.

More tips for you and your baby

Tiny miracles: How to bond with your NICU baby
Ways dad can bond with his baby

Helping your adopted child bond to you

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