Bonding With Your Baby
by Ann Douglas
After months of anticipation, your baby is finally here. She’s healthy and she’s gorgeous (just like her mama) and she definitely knows what she’s doing when it comes to bonding with you. She’s been staring at you, wide-eyed, since the moment she arrived on the planet. And that was over an hour ago….
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now, babies are pros when it comes to eliciting nurturing behaviors from their parents—and for good reason. Babies had to capture the attention of their parents long before there were developmental psychologists around to tell modern-day moms and dads that it’s in the best interests of the human species if parents are responsive to their little ones. So if you’re feeling slightly unsure about what your baby needs or what you should do to meet her needs, relax. Generations and generations of parents before you have figured this one out. And you’ve got the best possible coach at your disposal—your baby.
Besides, parent-child bonding is the ultimate win-win. The more adept you become at deciphering your baby’s cues (her body language, her cries, and her other efforts to communicate her needs to you), the more you will be rewarded by her trust and love. And the more you respond to her outpouring of love (with even more love of your own), the more that love will grow. And your worries about bonding with your baby will be a thing of the past. You’ll be positively be-smitten.
If something gets in the way…
Don’t worry if you don’t fall head over heels in love with your baby right away. Sometimes it takes time for powerful maternal (and paternal) feelings to kick in. Labour and delivery aren’t always a cakewalk—and postpartum requires a lot of adjustments for the entire family.
But if you’re feeling so exhausted or overwhelmed that your enjoyment of motherhood is being affected, it’s possible that you are struggling with postpartum depression—a condition that affects an estimated 10 to 15 percent of new mothers.
If you think this could be what’s happening, talk to your health care professional and/or a trusted friend or family member about how you are feeling. A variety of treatment options are available (both pharmacological and non-pharmacological). Motherhood doesn’t have to be this hard.