After feeling your child grow within you for 9 months, you probably can’t wait to bond with baby after birth. The first moments of eye contact, touching and dialogue between mom and baby are all part the bonding process, which helps establish the foundation of your relationship. However, if complications arise or births don’t go as planned, it’s important you understand that bonding occurs in many different ways over time.
During childbirth, a mother releases high levels of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for bonding patterns and intimacy. This release intensifies your senses and allows you to connect with the smell and feel of your baby. In fact, you will prefer the smell of your baby over all other babies. Likewise, your child will become attracted to the scent of your breast, thus making breastfeeding a natural bonding experience. Babies will then begin to associate comfort and calmness with their mothers.
In some situations, moms may have the option to room with their baby in the hospital to encourage bonding and begin breastfeeding. If that interests you, be sure to talk to your hospital in advance about your wishes.
Sometimes, the extreme stress of childbirth can leave a mother feeling exhausted and the initial connectedness may not set in until the stress subsides. It’s ok. Bonding does not have a time limit. Over time, you will learn how to soothe and enjoy the moments with your little one, and your feelings will deepen. Every relationship is different, so have faith that you’ll develop one that fits you and your baby just right.
Also, if your baby needs immediate medical attention, or if you are sedated during the delivery, don’t worry. Your relationship will still thrive even if you didn’t have an opportunity to bond immediately. You’ll quickly be spending an incredible amount of time together. Soon, you’ll begin feeling the intrinsic joy and devotion you have for your little one.
We love hearing the special stories of how you developed an undeniable bond with your little one. Please share your unique bonding experiences in the comments below.