The process of bonding with a new baby may seem natural, but there’s often more to it than meets the eye. After all, how do you make sure what you’re doing is creating a trusting relationship that’ll help foster a lifelong attachment for your child?
Fortunately, there are many effective ways to bond with your newborn during the first year of his or her life. Even if you’re an adoptive mother who did not give birth to your child, you can form a healthy attachment during the first year with the following six activities:
From the day your child comes into your life, you want to spend time looking at him or her. When they are less than a month old, spend time smiling and talking to him or her. When babies are around six weeks old, they start to recognize smiles and respond in kind. After a time, your baby will even coo when you speak to him or her. They might even laugh if you start laughing.
Touching an infant in a soothing way will help him or her feel safe and cared for. Some researchers even claim that massage helps babies relax when they’re feeling stressed.
There’s no “right” way to massage your child, but at the start, you can aim to do so for at least 15 minutes three times a day. In a University of Miami Medical Center Study, babies who experienced this amount of massage over ten days averaged 47 percent more weight gain per day than a control group of premature infants who didn’t receive massage. The infants who received massage were also more alert and had greater neurological development than premature infants who were not massaged.
Newborns might not understand what you’re saying, but they do like to hear the sound of your voice. Babies are intelligent and like to listen to the rhythm, tone and inflection of your voice. Also, according to research, the more words a baby is exposed to, the better prepared he or she is to eventually start reading independently.
Spend Time in Nature
New parents are often worried about taking their babies outside. In fact, some parents leave their children inside until they’re several months old—but this doesn’t have to be the case. As long as your baby is not a preemie and is otherwise healthy, going outside is likely very beneficial.
According to Anne Hansen, MD, MPH and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Boston, natural light and fresh air are beneficial for new babies and their parents, too. As long as you’re dressed appropriately for the weather and you do not expose your baby to direct sunlight for extended periods of time, you’re safe to spend time together outside.
Connect With Cuddling
Every day, mothers and fathers should spend skin-to-skin contact time with their children. Lay your child on you, and drape a blanket over him or her if you’re in a cold room.
If your child comes to you through embryo adoption, you can also breastfeed with direct skin-to-skin contact. A mother’s milk contains essential vitamins, nutrients, and disease-fighting substances that protect your newborn—especially during the first six months of life.
Range of Motion Play
Every other day, lay down your baby on towels or a thick mat. Start with eye contact, and talk to them lovingly and gently. Once you have your infant’s attention, hold his or her hands. You can then stretch their arms out wide and then bring them across his or her chest. As you do this, continue to coo at your baby and smile at him or her, too. If they ever seem in pain or upset, stop the exercise and try again in 15 minutes.
Another good exercise to do with your little one is the “bicycle.” Hold your baby’s legs, and gently move them back and forth in a pedaling motion. Again, if you find any resistance or your child becomes saddened by the exercise, stop immediately and try again later.
As an adoptive parent, you probably have a lot on your mind. Although you likely have several concerns, one the most important is probably bonding with your child. When you adopt a child, it takes time to understand him or her and all the ways you can interact. With time, and the six techniques above, you and your child can start to form a bond that will eventually serve as the foundation for a lifelong relationship.
Mackenzie Martin is a content writer who loves to see her client’s Google search rankings grow. As a writer by day and an author by night, she has an undying love for well-crafted copy and the impact it can have. Connect with her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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