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Bonding with Baby

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Why is bonding with baby so important?

First 1,001 Days: The time from when you're pregnant until your child turns 2 years old is very important. It's a time of rapid growth, and everything your baby experiences, even when they're still in the womb, sets them up for a good future. Those first 1,001 days are a golden opportunity for your baby's brain, and body to grow and develop in the best way possible.

Early Relationships Matter: The people your baby connects within the early years, like you and other family members, have a big impact on how they see themselves and how they learn to handle their feelings and behaviour.

Baby Communication: Babies can't talk like we do, but they have ways of telling us what they need. You will soon tune into your baby's needs and be able to figure out what they need. 

Early Years Matter: The first five years of your child's life shape their future in a big way. What happens during this time can have a lasting impact on the next 50 years of their life.

Key facts about bonding with baby

Babies Can Hear Before Birth: At about 6 months pregnant, your baby's ears start working, they can hear sounds from the outside world.

Babies Recognise Familiar Voices: Inside the womb, babies can recognise and remember the voices they hear, especially the sound of their mum's voice. 

Babies Use Body Language: Even tiny babies can communicate. They smile, make eye contact, coo, laugh, and seem interested when they want to connect with you.

Bonding Helps Grow Baby's Brain: When you bond with your baby, the brain releases hormones that help it grow and form new pathways. This helps them develop memory, thoughts, and eventually, the ability to talk.

Busy Baby Brain: In their first year alone, their brain makes more than a million new connections every second.

Brain Building: How your baby's brain develops depends a lot on how they interact with you and others. Your love and attention helps their brain grow.

Ways to bond with your baby in the womb

Talk to Your Baby: Start talking to your baby even before they're born. Hearing your voice can be comforting to the baby and help them recognise it once they are born

Sing and Play Music: Play soothing music or sing lullabies to your baby. The gentle sounds are calming for both you and your baby, and they might even respond with movements in the womb.

Touch: Gently massage your belly or place your hands on it. This physical touch can help you bond with your baby.

Create a Keepsake: Some parents like to start a journal or create a scrapbook to remember their pregnancy. You can write letters to your baby or capture your bump with photos.

Include Your Family: Encourage your family to join in these bonding activities. They can also talk to the baby, feel their movements, and be a part of the bonding process.

Ways to bond with your newborn

Skin-to-Skin Contact: Holding your baby skin-to-skin is one of the most powerful ways to bond. It provides comfort, warmth, and a sense of security for your baby.

Eye Contact: Make eye contact with your baby during feeding, nappy changes, and playtime. Babies are drawn to people's eyes, and it helps them feel connected.

Cuddling and Holding: Hold your baby close in your arms, cuddle them, and snuggle together. This closeness is reassuring for your baby and strengthens your bond.

Respond to Their Cries: When your baby cries, respond as soon as you can. This shows them that you are always there and builds trust between you.

Talk and Sing: Talk to your baby during the day, tell them what you are doing, even if it feels silly at first! Singing lullabies or gentle songs can be comforting for your baby.

Read Aloud: Even though your newborn can't understand the words yet, reading books aloud introduces them to the rhythm of language and will help them when they start to talk.

Baby Massage: Baby massage is good for relaxation and strengthens your bond. You can pop into your local Family Hub site or ring the Families Information Service on 0800 0345 340 to find out more.

Face-to-Face Interaction: Make funny faces, smile, and copy your baby's facial expressions. This helps them learn about emotions and social cues.

Baby-Wearing: Use a baby carrier or sling to carry your baby with you while you go about your daily activities. It keeps them close and involved in your world.

Feeding Time: Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, feeding times are a great chance to bond through touch, eye contact, and gentle words.

Bedtime Routine: Start a calming bedtime routine. This might include a warm bath, soft lullabies, and cuddling before putting your baby to sleep.

Remember that bonding can take time, and each baby is unique. Listen to your baby's cues and be patient with yourself. The more time you spend together the stronger your bond will be.

Need help with bonding?

If you need support contact your GP, midwife or health visitor on 01226 774411

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