As a new parent, you have probably heard a thousand times over that your life will never be the same again. And it’s true. There are many adjustments to be made – from baby-proofing the house to the number of times you will need to wake at night to feed, change and put baby back to sleep. But did you know that as you cradle baby in your arms to rock her back to sleep, or speak to baby as you change her diapers in the wee hours of the morning, you are actually strengthening your relationship with baby?
The touch of love
According to the neuroscientist Marian Diamond, loving gestures such as touch actually contributes to baby’s brain growth , producing far-reaching effects on her physical, mental and emotional development. In other words, when you cuddle, hug, stroke or have any form of skin-to-skin contact with baby, you are in fact helping her to grow.
As such, you don’t always have to wait for playtime to bond with baby. You can transform feeding and grooming times into bonding sessions as well!
After bottle or breastfeeding baby (and after burping her, of course) spend a little more quality time with her by laying baby against your chest and speaking gently to her. Not only does this soothe baby, it also allows her to know your voice and smell that she will look forward to having you near her every time.
Besides that, swaddling is also a great way to reassure baby that she is safe and well cared for. As you wrap her snugly, try singing to her. Baby may just respond enthusiastically to it, and delight you with a smile or a cute little laugh.
Get daddy in on the action as well by having him in charge of grooming, reading and/or nap time. Try to make these exclusively dad-and-baby activities. They will certainly enjoy their time together as baby learns to differentiate between the loving sounds and touch of the two most important people in her life.
Maintaining a positive environment
However you choose to interact with baby, it is essential that you continuously maintain a relaxed and positive atmosphere. Baby can easily pick up on emotional cues and tell when you are stressed . Therefore, avoid passing on your anxiety by maintaining a positive disposition whenever you are interacting with baby.
The key is not to sweat the small stuff, and to focus on the larger picture. Yes, it can be hard to do at times, but try your best and know that you are doing it for baby’s healthy development.
That’s certainly worth the effort!