The word of the day: bond. Could be a noun; often, it's a verb. Webster's has quite a few definitions: an attractive force that holds together the atoms, ions, or groups of atoms in a molecule or crystal; a uniting or binding element or force; to join (things) together; to join to something else
to form a close relationship with someone
Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Yes, that is the type of bonding we're tackling today. Forming a close relationship with someone, and in this case, that someone is your little one. Those first weeks and months, as you snuggle and hug and bathe Baby, you are re-enforcing not only the relationship you two are building, but also getting the groove on with hardwiring her little brain to absorb her new world in the best way possible. So, what are the key things to do with your baby to build a fabulous bond not only with you but also between her and her world?
Show her your face -- Newborns love faces. They want to study whatever that mouth and those eyes are doing, and they want to study yours over and over and over again. This builds that sense of security, which allows her to feel confident to explore her world in the coming months and years. Whenever you are hanging out, playing, singing, whatever-ing with Baby, be sure you are eight to 12 inches away as that is the distance she can see clearly as a newborn. Another reason to get face-to-face while you talk to her and feed her: it's essential to early intellectual development.
Cuddle, cuddle and more cuddles -- Body contact is vital to boosting that parent-baby bond. Your new little guy learns your smells, your voice, your rhythm that much faster when he's close to you, which, again, solidifies his sense of security in this ginormous world. When you place him in that baby-carrier, he also gets a new point-of-view: yours! This fresh and wonderful take on his surroundings gets all of those baby brain neurons firing. Through baby-wearing, he starts to pick up vital communication cues and learns the rhythm of the day.
Mini-me massage -- So, you touch your baby all of the time when you pick her up and change her diaper, but studies have shown that purposeful touching, like massage, strengthens his development both emotionally and also that of his sensory awareness. His growth and digestion hormones are stimulated, and your hormones get a workout too: when you massage your baby's adorable legs, that uber-hormone oxytocin is released in you, which is another powerful tool that helps along the bonding.
Channel your inner American Idol -- Singing is one of the best ways to build connections with Baby (and Simon Cowell doesn't in your apartment, so no worries on how you sound). From typical nursery rhyme songs to old Beatles tunes to the latest from Lorde, it doesn't matter what you sing as long as you do it. It's a no-brainer to sing upbeat silly songs when you are playing, and croon some softer, slower songs at bedtime. See which ones she responds to...yes, you may find yourself singing them about a gazillion times, but remember, the repetition is what her developing brain thrives on.
How do you bond with your baby?