Bonding & attachment
Bonding and attachment are important because the early social interactions and relationships between you and your baby have a profound influence on your baby’s emotional, cognitive and neurological development.
How your baby communicates with you
- Your baby may smile at you from the first day onwards.
- Even on the first day your baby can reach out their hand a little way towards you.
- Your baby can copy movements you make with your face.
- Your baby will communicate when they are overwhelmed by blinking or looking away.
- Your baby’s crying lets you know when they feel hungry and tired or alone.
Parent–infant interaction and attachment
The most important thing for your baby is a nurturing relationship with you that is responsive to their needs. Bonding and attachment are important because these experiences have a profound influence on your baby’s emotional, cognitive and neurological development.
For the first six weeks your baby is working out what happens in their body and may sometimes be distressed by new sensations and experiences. Comfort your baby when they are upset by gently rocking them or singing or speaking to them in a soothing voice.
A surprise may be how interactive your baby is from birth, and how aware, responsive, active, curious and alert they are. They will enjoy hearing you talk, sing or read to them and will imitate your facial expressions from a very early age.
Bonding with your baby
- Talk to your baby – they find voices interesting.
- Hold and touch your baby – skin-on-skin contact reduces stress and improves breathing and heart rate.
- Spend time with your baby – sing songs, recite nursery rhymes, imitate their facial expressions.
- Soothe your baby when they are upset or distressed.
- Read stories to your baby from the beginning.
Don't be concerned if it takes a little while to ‘fall in love’ with your baby. It may be something that develops slowly rather than an immediate, overwhelming sensation. If feelings of disconnectedness persist after a couple of weeks it may be helpful to discuss this with your Maternal and Child Health Nurse or family doctor.
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