Love at first sight?
We often see films or commercials, or read in books or we have heard from other moms that the moment they held their newborn in their arms, they fell in love. Instantly. Without doubt and without questioning. Yes, it can happen that you instantly fall in love with your baby the moment you look at her. But it can also be that these feelings come after some days or weeks. It can be that falling in love with your baby takes time. And that is OK! Love WILL come!
Older British research showed that when moms were asked when they felt love for their new baby during pregnancy, 41% of them replied while giving birth, 24% of them said during the first week and the rest 8% mentioned that it happened after the first week.
So, despite of what we are told, or think, or read, or heard, most moms need time to bond with their babies and when that happens, they feel a wave of love! Especially moms that had a not so pleasant birth experience, mention that they felt real love for their little ones when they spent time with them in a more relaxed and quieter environment.
There is no reason to worry and be disappointed if you don’t instantly fall in love with your baby, because there are many opportunities and more than one way to bond with your baby. Taking your time, feeling safe, accepting your feelings, having support so that you are not mentally loaded with all the things around you that need to be done.
I would like to share some tips that can support and promote your bond with your baby. Most of these can be applied right after giving birth and adjusted when you return home:
- Skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth. That keeps the baby warm and helps him regulate his temperature Ideally, if the circumstances allow it, the new family should be able to have some uninterrupted time with their baby. Ideally, in a quiet environment, as it is a little challenging to be able to focus on your baby in a room full of people and noise.
- Rooming in: this term is used to indicate that the baby is not separated at all from his mother during the stay at the hospital. The baby is not taken into the nursery station, together with all the other babies, but she’s staying in the same room as her mother, and he has her own bassinet there.
- Let the baby crawl and find your breast in order to drink. Babies are born with the instinct to suck. Also, if you have noticed, the area around your nipple (areola) has turned darker during pregnancy. So that the babies, who have limited sight ability, can spot it.
- Encouragement of you as a new mother (and father) to be involved in the care of the baby. The hospital stuff can support that, showing you, as new parents how to handle your baby (especially if you are first time parents)
- Support you as a new mother during your stay at the hospital with the right advice and solutions about the challenges you are facing, so that the transition to home will be easier for everyone.
Always remember that this is your baby, your family and your feelings. Slowly, with time you will become the expert of your baby and what you will need is understanding, support and trust in your instinct and your inner voice.
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