Small Things You Can Do To Bond With Your Baby
When I was staying with my friend who is a new mom recently, I noticed that, when it was just her, me, and the baby in the house, and I was in the bathroom or somewhere where I clearly wasn’t available for conversation, I’d hear my friend chatting. Who could she be talking to? The only other person in the house was her nine-month-old baby who couldn’t speak yet. Then one day she told me, “By the way, if you hear me talking to myself, I’m actually talking to my baby—I just think it’s good for her if I chat with her while I’m doing things around the house.” I thought that was so adorable, and I felt silly for my previous belief that there was no point in talking to a little baby. When I looked at the infant, she clearly lit up when her mom spoke to her—even if she couldn’t respond. Here are small things you can do now to bond with your baby forever.
Talk to her
As I mentioned, simply chatting to your baby while she sits in her high chair and you clean dishes can bond you. Your voice will sink into her subconscious, and when she is older, she will vaguely recollect you engaging her in conversation when she was very little.
Bring her along
Don’t find a babysitter or turn to your partner every time you need to run an errand. Bring your baby shopping. Bring her in the changing room and chat with her about your outfits. Bring her to lunch with your friend. Don’t get in the habit of finding a sitter any time you need to leave the house for simple activities.
Even on trips
Even bring your baby on trips. You’d be amazed how accommodating airlines, hotels, and restaurants actually are to new parents. Experience the smells and sites of foreign places together. When you show your grown child photos of her going to London as a baby, she’ll really appreciate that you wanted her along.
Work from home more
Work from home if you can. Don’t be stubborn and try to prove something by being the mom who always comes into the office. Your life should change if you have a baby. Request work from home days and have your baby sit nearby while you’re at your laptop.
Sit her on the bed while you get ready
When you get ready in the morning, if your baby is old enough to sit up on her own, place her on the bed as you pick outfits and put on makeup.
Read to her
Read to your little one, even if she doesn’t yet understand what you’re saying. The more ways you can put your voice into her memories, the better. And when you read to her, you hold her, so you’re having skin-to-skin contact.
Walk in nature with her
Go for nature walks together! If you want to stroll by the beach or in a fun shopping promenade, bring the little one. Point things out to her, like ducks, bicycles, ice cream, and more.
Do puzzles and games with her
Sit on the floor and play your baby’s games with her. Even if she doesn’t yet quite know what she’s doing, she’ll feel like you’re doing something together. It makes her feel special if you want to participate in her toys and activities.
Hold her often
Get all of the skin on skin contact you can. There’s nothing like the hormonal bonding that goes on when you hold your baby. Have her on your lap during movie time or coffee with a friend, even if it’s just for ten minutes before putting her in her stroller or crib.
Sing to her
I do remember my mom singing to me as a baby. It’s such a happy memory. She seemed so totally present and happy when she’d sing to me. And when she sang, I felt like there was nothing in the world to fear.
Breastfeed as often as you can. I understand that sometimes your schedule won’t allow it, and you have to pump in advance and bottlefeed later. But when you have the time, breastfeed—it’s especially bonding.
Focus on her at mealtime
Really pay attention to her at mealtime. Don’t half-heartedly spoon food into her mouth with one hand while you text with the other. Pay attention. Talk to her about what a good job she is doing. Pretend to eat the food yourself and enjoy it.
Make lots of eye contact
Eye contact has powerful bonding qualities. This is true for any type of relationship. Doesn’t eye contact feel powerful, even when it’s just with the server taking your order at a restaurant?
Say her name often
Say your baby’s name often when you talk to her. It reminds her how included and acknowledged she is. As she gets to know her name, she’ll realize how often you include her in conversation.
Show up when she cries
Parents have divided views on the matter but, here’s what I’ll say: most of my friends grew up in a time when moms rushed to their babies’ sides when they cried. And none of those friends are codependent, needy, or messed up in any way. Go to your baby when she cries. Isn’t she supposed to learn that she can always count on you?