There is always that expectation when you are pregnant of what it will be like in that moment when you hold your baby for the first time. Some mums and dads get that bonding feeling from the moment their baby is born, but for others it can take a few days, weeks or even months – so please don’t worry!
In a recent Facebook post we asked our lovely followers how they bond with their babies and thought it would be useful to share some of those favourite bonding activities.
Plenty of Cuddles
It might seem like an obvious one but top of the list is sharing plenty of cuddles with your little one. Despite what some people say you can never cuddle a new born baby too much. That time goes so quickly, and you never get it back. Plenty of cuddles also gives baby reassurance that you are close by helping to strengthen that bond.
Skin to Skin contact
Skin to skin contact especially straight after birth is important for encouraging you and baby to bond. It provides warmth for baby but also allows them to hear the comforting sound of your heartbeat and voice, providing reassurance to them straightaway. Skin to skin contact is also important with Dads, especially if for any reason mum is unable to do this straight after birth. Even simply holding your baby’s hand can provide comfort in those minutes, hours and days after birth.
Recent research has found that lullabies not only bring comfort to baby, but singing can also benefit baby’s brain development, increasing their attention as well as helping to strengthen their bond. This was a popular choice with our followers, with lots of you loving to sing. Don’t worry though for those less musical amongst us, baby won’t mind at all! The judgement and embarrassment won’t start until they are at least 4 years old! 😊
Its never too soon to start reading to your little one. Your baby won’t understand the words but hearing your voice stimulates their interest, starts to develop their language skills and understanding and of course is great for bonding and spending some dedicated one-on-one time.
Playing an instrument
For all those lucky enough to know how to play an instrument, this is the perfect opportunity to bond with baby. They will love watching and listening to you. If you or your partner has been playing music to baby even as early as in the womb, this will help them recognise familiar sounds when they are born.
Introducing baby to the water at a young age has lots of benefits. Not only does it help prevent any fear of water developing, its also a great way to strengthen that bond by spending precious one-on-one time together as well as more skin-to-skin contact. The warm water can be relaxing for you both with the added bonus that swimming generally tires baby out, setting them up for a good long nap! You just might get one as well 😊 There are plenty of baby swim classes where they have created bespoke programmes such as Water Babies, or you could try to set aside some time to just spend in the water at your local swimming pool.
Babies love a good game of peek-a-boo! They generally never tire of it and you can be almost guaranteed to get that infectious baby belly laugh every time! It’s a great game to boost your well-being as well as baby’s.
A firm favourite when it comes to bonding and a big favourite with the Dads is baby bath time. During the day it’s a great time for some fun, songs and play. It’s a chance to spend one on one time interacting with baby and sharing lots of eye contact. Something the Shnuggle Bath lends itself really well too, as the more upright position and compact nature of the bath allows mum and dad to get really close to baby.
For many, bath time is a big part of baby’s bed time routine, a time to relax and soothe for (hopefully) a good night’s sleep! A little sensory bath toy can also help you connect with baby, something like the Shnuggle Wishy light up toy which can hold baby’s attention, provide a sensory experience as well as provide lots of fun.
A lovely activity at any time of the day but can be especially soothing just before baby’s bed time. Baby massage can be soothing and relaxing to baby as well as you. It’s also got lots of other benefits such as aiding digestion and improving circulation. Try to pick a time when baby is between feeds, so they are not too hungry but also not overly sleepy.