When you meet your baby for the first time, you can never underestimate how overwhelming it may be. Some parents instantly feel that parental surge whereas others might struggle for various reasons such as difficult birth, feeding problems, post natal depression, baby blues or even the feeling life will never be the same again.
It can be really worrying for a parent who might not perhaps feel that overwhelming bond, but for lots of parents, it just takes time. Many parents do not feel a connection straight away and this is perfectly normal. It is important not to feel under pressure to try and force yourself to address this if you are not ready to do so. It is quite ok for the bonding process to take its time. The gradual steps that bring you closer to your child will feel more natural to both of you. It is important to enlist the support of your health visitor so you feel more able to tackle this at your pace.
Self-care and wellbeing
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and talk about it. Seeking support is not a sign of weakness or failure, but a powerful, positive and courageous step to take.
- Make sure you have lots of support and people you can talk to.
- Encourage yourself to think of positives, especially when you feel negative, anxious or even scared.
- Tiredness can play a huge part in how you feel. Ask a friend or relative to help look after baby so you can get some sleep.
- Looking after yourself and recharging your batteries is a part of this process.
- Take time out for yourself as if you are happy this will have a positive impact on your loved ones.
How to increase the bond with your baby
- Sit quietly with your baby when they are asleep. When you start to feel calm take the next step of gently stroking your baby's face or pulling up their blanket.
- It often helps new parents to think about what they like about their baby. Simple things like their eyes, or their tiny fingernails can be a good place to start. Focus on these when you look at your baby.
- If you feel caught in a trap with a crying baby, try out different ways of relaxing together, perhaps go for a walk with the baby facing you in the buggy or sit and watch the TV with your baby.
- You could try a baby massage class which is very relaxing for the parent and child.
- Sitting close to your baby and perhaps reading to them, singing a song, or even reading a paper can help. Your baby will be soothed by your voice during this simple shared experience.
- Your baby might benefit from touch so, if you feel able to, hold your baby skin-to-skin so she can use her senses around you. This is a very natural way for parents and children to bond.
Take time out to observe your baby as they develop at their own pace. Try to figure out her verbal and non-verbal signals to help build up your own unique communication. Observing will help you begin to see the world from her eyes and may help your feelings to deepen naturally, as you get to know her better.
Other organisations that may be useful:
It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us via our live chat service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker.