Playing with your baby and engaging in fun activities are excellent ways to develop a bond with your newborn. However, bonding with your baby does not happen overnight. It takes time to understand the baby fully and explore different techniques and activities. New babies spend a whole lot of time crying, eating, or sleeping. But when they are not doing any of these, they would want to play.
Bonding is an intense attachment that makes the parents shower their baby with affection, love, and care and protect their little one. Bonding makes the parents attentive towards their babies’ wide range of needs. It is what makes them wake up in the middle of the night to feed their baby and be available all the time.
Why is Bonding Crucial?
For a baby, bonding is paramount. The majority of newborns are ready to bond immediately, but a parent can have a mixture of feelings about it. For some parents, it may take a bit longer to develop attachment. However, for other parents, an intense bonding develops within the first few minutes of the birth.
Bonding is not something limited for a specific duration after birth or takes place within minutes, but it is a process. Bonding is a byproduct for several parents that happens from everyday caregiving. You may not even know the bonding is happening until you see the smile of your little one and suddenly realize that it has made your heart fill with joy and love.
The Ways Babies Bond
When you are a new parent, you are unaware of several things, and it takes time to understand the newborn and ways you can interact with them. Since babies respond to skin-to-skin contact, touch becomes an early language. It is calming for both the baby and the parent. Moreover, it promotes the development and healthy growth of the baby.
Eye-to-eye contact is another way of interaction as it provides meaningful communication. In the early stage, the babies attempt to imitate your gestures and facial expressions and follow moving objects with their eyes. In their first efforts at communication, the babies enjoy vocalizing. Moreover, babies enjoy your description of their environment and activities and even just your conversation.
Bonding with a Daddy
Compared to the past generation, the new dads spend more time with their newborns. Bonding between a baby and their fathers occurs on a different timetable because they do not have early contact with breastfeeding like mothers. But father needs to realize that bonding with their babies is not a matter of being another mother.
In several cases, fathers share distinct special activities with their newborns. And when both the parents encourage and support each other, it benefits them both. Some of the early activities to bond with your baby include:
- Singing or reading to baby.
- Mimicking cooing and other vocalizations of the baby.
- Participating together in delivery and labor.
- Giving a baby a bath.
- Using a front baby carrier during the routine activities,
- Feeding – sometimes, a father can develop a special bond with his infant when handling middle-night diaper change and feeding.
- Mirroring the movements of the baby.
- Letting the baby feel the textures of the face of a father.
Activities to Bond with Your Baby
Whether watching them dance or play an instrument together, music offers several benefits for both the child and the parent, including bringing our awareness into the current moment and our bodies. It will work as a mindfulness activity for your kids.
One of the simplest ways to enhance your children’s reading skills and language is reading. Moreover, reading with kids excites brain development patterns responsible for bonding and connection.
You will also agree, as story time usually involves shared emotion, eye contact, and cuddling. If you make this a priority in your house, you can benefit from this excellent way to bond with your children.
One of the massive barriers to parents engaging with their children is stress. For increasing the physical well-being and emotional health of you and your baby, spend some time in nature with them. Outdoor nature play has several benefits for your kids, including reducing their muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure.
If you have a busy routine and do not have time to go for a hike, then a simple act like watering plants together works too.
Humans can identify specific compassion, gratitude, and love through blind touch. Through this lens, it becomes easy to see how appropriate touching plays a significant role in creating a secure connection between the child and parent.
When done respectfully, touch proves to be a helpful intervention for both parent and child. If your kid has behavioral or emotional challenges or struggling with emotional regulation skills, prompt the piggyback rides and living room wrestling with which several of us grew up.
Engaging in craft activities or art with your kids is an excellent way to provide not only an enjoyable experience but a therapeutic experience as well. No matter the age, you will hardly find a kid who does not have an interest in art. You can provide an outlet for your children to express their feelings and thoughts by engaging together in a creative process.
You will be laying the groundwork to raise an emotionally intelligent kid. And the younger children who cannot verbalize their complex emotions benefit from this more. The interactions between you and your child will be more optimistic when he has access to a creative outlet.
Children learn vital life skills through play. Parents can enter the world of their children by following their lead in play. Moreover, in this way, they open up the possibility of several optimistic outcomes, including seeing their children from a new perspective and taking on a different relationship role.
Playing with children also makes them view their parents as allies and not opponents who always breathes down their neck. It also decreases separation anxiety and attention-seeking behaviors of your child.
A lot of you may be thinking that listening is not an activity. Listening will do wonders for your relationship with your child in ways you have no idea. It can be challenging to truly listen to your child when you are caught up in the daily current of responsibility and work. We need to put particular skills into practice to listen well.
These involve cultivating genuine interest and setting aside all the distractions. When you do this in combination with sustained eye contact and active listening, you are on your way to a good connection with your baby.
Mealtimes tend to be stress-laden for parents. It is because they try to remove the kid from the meal preparation scene. As most parents can attest, it works as a promotor for the children to keep moving towards the kitchen. So, you can save your energy by using this time to bond with your child.
Involving your children in mean preparation can encourage togetherness and family bonding. Moreover, it may even reduce behavior problems. Although having your kids in the kitchen may be a bit less convenient and more time-consuming, the positive effects are worth it.
Children love playing board games. The parent-child relationship gets several benefits from the reciprocal nature of the interaction involved. The give-and-take nature of the board games makes a natural context for the kids to share their thoughts.
Board games also give parents a prime opportunity to reflect on the challenging emotions and help the kids express their frustration appropriately.
Journaling and writing produce substantial benefits for older children, including enhancing personal health and reduction of stress. Both the parents can connect and communicate through collaborative journaling as it’s literally under lock and key.
Several journals provide a forum for both child and parent to join in a journey of self-discovery and self-expression. It builds necessary life skills of problem-solving and communication.
Benefits of Bonding with Your Baby
1. Helps with Cognitive Development
During the first year of your baby’s life, she learns a lot from the surrounding sounds and sights as she grows. This is a critical period in which babies develop conversation skills and language – faster than any other stage in life.
As you develop a strong bond with your baby and get to know her, you will learn to recognize when she’s hungry, wants to play, or is tired. Your baby communicates her needs with you in various ways that you can only understand if you have formed a good bond with her. However, if you are stressed due to financial or emotional problems, you won’t be able to respond to your baby well.
Therefore, it is best to seek help if you have the following symptoms of stress: disturbed sleep or appetite, anger, inability to enjoy with your baby. Once you take care of the things stressing you out, you will be fresh enough to form a good bond with your little one.
3. Helps Babies Cope with Stress
Your babies have a sensitive neurological system; hence, long periods of stress (for example, crying) can hinder her ability to calm herself later in life. If you are among those parents who let the baby “cry it out” and think paying attention will only spoil their baby, you need to change yourself. As you calm your baby when she’s crying, hungry, upset, or sleepy, you are helping her regulate her emotions. And no – you are not spoiling your baby this way.
Your baby needs extra assurance when she’s under stress – for example, getting a shot, being sick or hospitalized, or being in a crowded place. According to research, your gentle touch and soothing voice can help your baby cope up with stress in a better way.
Benefits of Father-infant Bonding
According to research, when new dads spend quality time with their newborns and start developing a strong bond, they reap a number of benefits, such as:
- Children who have close interactions with their dads in the early stage of their life tend to be academically successful, are less likely to get involved in any criminal activities or drugs, and have better relations with their peers.
- A strong father-infant bond help cope up with issues such as depression and stress later in life.
- A child has an improved mental and physical development whose father has played with her earlier in their life than children whose fathers didn’t.
The bond a parent shares with his child is precious. And this attachment development takes time. However, you can form a secure bond with your child in several ways. Many fun activities are not only entertaining but also strengthen the parent-child bond. Playing with your baby gives you the chance to enter their world and understand them better.
Always find the activities that work best for you and your little one. Developing a nurturing and healthy bond between you and your child is crucial, and you can attain it in a lot of ways.