What is bonding?
When experts talk about bonding, they're referring to the intense attachment you develop with your baby. It's the feeling that makes you want to shower them with love and affection, or throw yourself in front of a speeding truck to protect them.
For some parents, this takes place within the first few days - or even minutes - of birth. For others, it may take a little longer. In the past, researchers who studied the process thought it was crucial to spend a lot of time with your newborn during his first few days to seal the bond right away. But now we know that bonding can take place over time. Parents who are separated from their babies soon after delivery for medical reasons or who adopt their children when they're several weeks or months old can also develop enormously close, loving relationships.
What if I don't bond with my baby right away?
Breathe easy. Parent-baby bonding is complicated and often takes time to gel. As long as you take care of your baby's basic needs and cuddle with her regularly, she won't suffer if you don't feel a strong bond at first sight.
"There's so much discussion about bonding with a new baby that mothers often feel guilty if they don't feel some incredible attachment to their new baby immediately," says Edward Christophersen, a pediatric psychologist in Kansas City, Missouri. "But bonding is truly an individual experience, and it's just as reasonable to expect the bond to develop over a period of time as it is for it to develop instantaneously."
Your baby may be cute and cuddly, but she's also an entirely new person, one you'll have to get used to before you become enmeshed. You can't force yourself to bond. There's no magic formula.
A true parent-child bond is a byproduct of everyday caregiving. Over time, as you get to know your baby and learn how to soothe her and enjoy her presence, your feelings will deepen. And one day - it may be the first time you see her smile - you'll look at your baby and realize you're utterly, ineffably filled with joy and love for her. Now that's bonding.
When should I worry?
If, after a few weeks, you find that you don't feel more attached to and comfortable with your baby than you did the first day, or if you actually feel detached and resentful of her, talk to your baby's pediatrician and your own doctor or midwife. Postpartum depression is real and can hamper bonding, in which case it's best to seek help as soon as possible.
Early intervention can prevent your relationship with your child from deteriorating. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to win back your baby's trust and affection.
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Twelve steps to a healthy pregnancy
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
Get early prenatal care
Watch what you eat
Take prenatal vitamins
Get some rest
Just say no to alcohol
Swear off all illicit drugs
Cut back on caffeine
Eliminate environmental dangers
See your dentist
Take care of your emotional health
Remember to check baby with us each week to see what we've added! Congratulations!
It's Never OK to Shake a Baby!
In the past few years, a newly recognized injury to children has been identified. This injury is Shaken Baby Syndrome or "SBS". Shaken Baby Syndrome is a serious injury and the results can be devastating.
Learn ways of coping with a crying baby and information on how to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome. We can all get involved in stopping this destructive injury.
An estimated 1,200 to 1,400 cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) occur each year in the United States. Only 1 out of 4 babies dies of Shaken Baby Syndrome. HOWEVER, the other three babies will need ongoing medical attention for the rest of their short lifespans.
Excerpted from http://www.aboutshakenbaby.com/