Being a new mom can be overwhelming. But what happens when you meet your newborn for the first time, and you just don’t feel bond with your newborn?
How Do I Bond with my newborn?
You spend your whole pregnancy glowing and anxiously awaiting the newborn who is going to ‘change your life’. You’ve decorated the room, picked out a name, had a baby shower with the cutest little blankets and onesies.
You seen moms everywhere smiling at their babies, taking gorgeous photos, and posting about their sweet little bundle of joy all over social media. They talk about how they are “so in love”.
But usually, that’s just a load of crap.
Feeling like you don’t love your baby enough…
The honest truth is, it can be really hard to bond with your newborn at first. Social media and the fear of mom-shaming make most women glorify newborn life. But the vast majoirty of new moms (and dads) feel underwhelmed by their new infant.
And that underwhelming feeling, and lack of love, can make any parent feel like they’ve failed at parenting. Before they even really started!
Well get ready Mom! Parenting is a never-ending feeling of failure. But you can relax! A Mom who worries about failure is a mom who CARES.
What if I don’t fall in love with my newborn right away?
Chances are, you won’t.
Being a new parent is stressful and exhausting. Sure, it was easy to bond with your baby when they were in your belly. You could eat whatever you want, still enjoy uninteruppted trips to Target, and have casual lunches with your friends.
But then the baby comes along and all that changes. All of a sudden, you’re getting no sleep, don’t have time for hair and makeup, walk like a duck, and the pain in your boobs… let’s not even go there right now.
(You might also be interested in What Nobody Tells You About Those First 2 Weeks Postpartum)
Try your best to keep in mind this is all normal. You are not the only mom who has a hard time bonding with their infant. And you won’t be the last!
Before you get super-stressed out and start to panic, there are several ways you CAN bond with your newborn. These simple steps can help new moms connect with their babies.
10 Simple ways to bond with your newborn
1 – Breastfeed
This isn’t a lecture on the health and wellness of your infant. Breastfeeding or formula… we all end up giving our kids Mac N Cheese and Chicken Nuggets on a daily basis.
But breastfeeding can be a good way to connect with your infant. It’s a personal thing just between the two of you and can actually be enjoyable once you get past the first 2 weeks of pain.
2 – practice skin to skin
Believe it or not, skin to skin contact can actaully release hormones that relieve stress for both you and the baby. And if the baby is less stressed with you, and you are less stressed with them, you have a much easier time forming that bond.
You might also be interested in How Not to Lose Your Mind with a Crying Baby
3 – Wear your baby when they sleep
We are often so tempted to put our babies down and let them sleep, but the truth is, they may actually sleep longer (whoo hoo!) and better if they are kept in close contact with your body.
There are several products that make it super easy to carry your baby around while letting you still use your hands to get stuff done around the house.
4 – Dress your newborn up
It may sound funny, but during your pregnancy you problably saw a thousand cute outfits and photos of newborns. Maybe you even got a ton of items as gifts.
Have a little fun and play dress up with your infant. Even do some funny looks, and take lots of pictures. Having fun and having a good laugh with your baby, will allow you to enjoy spending time with them. Which in the end, increases the bond.
5 – Give your newborn a nickname
I wasn’t too original when I first became a mom. I nicknamed my daughter ‘peanut’. But in later years, it turned into her being my peanut butter and I’m her jelly. Something we still say to each other no matter how old she gets.
Find something creative to nickname your infant. Giving them your own personal nickname helps make them feel more like YOURS.
6 – Keep a journal
Start a journal for your baby. Write about current events when they were born. Or write about little milestones they reach. You can even write about your feelings and what it’s like to be a new mom (something you can give them one day when THEY become a new mom).
Being able to express yout feelings in a journal always helps with sadness and stress. But personalizing it to your own infant will be one more thing only the two of you share.
7 – smell your baby often
I LOVE the smell of my dog’s breath. But not other dogs. Why? Because I LOVE my puppy! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right? Take time to smell your newborn as often as you can. Scientists have recently learned that the body odour of newborns activates parts of the mother’s brain that perceive rewards and pleasure.
8 – Sleep with your baby
When baby sleeps, it seems like a great time to get stuff done. But if you want to avoid looking like the Walking Dead every time they are awake, learn how to sleep when your baby sleeps too.
This will make for a more well-rested mom. Which means the time you spend awake with your baby will be less stressful and handling a crying baby will be way more tolerable.
PLUS… if you spend time taking naps with your baby on your chest, you get that much needed sleep combined with some skin on skin contact AND you both taking in each others scents. BAM!
9 – take mommy and me dates
Get out of the house with your newborn all on your own. It may seem daunting at first (they come with a lot of baggage). But try to get out and take your newborn shopping, or out to lunch. Or even just to the park for a walk in the stroller.
Spending time together outside of the home will allow you to get away from the daily grind and teach yourself to natually love your baby more and more.
10 – Learn when to walk away
It’s important for moms to know when to walk away from their infants. If you feel like you are going to lose your sh*t, nothing good will come from you trying to care for your baby. Find time to take care of yourself. Reach out for help if you need it.
You can’t bond with baby if baby is always stressing you out. So learn how to calm your nerves and decrease your stress level. The less stress you feel around your newborn, the easier it will be to bond with them.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. The majority of new moms have a hard time bonding with their infants, despite what you see on social media.
I urge you to share with your fellow moms how you feel. No one wants to hear about your perfect life (we know you’re lying). Moms NEED the truth.
Did you have a hard time bonding with your infant? I’d love to hear your story and what you did to grow that bond.
You can read my personal story about how I Didn’t Love My Baby at First and That’s OK!