By Arabella Greatorex
Most parents bond instantly with their babies, an intense feeling that makes you want to hold and love and protect them. For some parents, this can take a little longer, especially if there has been a difficult pregnancy or labour.
Research indicates that babies who develop fulfilling relationships with their parents tend to grow into secure, well-adjusted adults and even perform better at school.
Bonding is a natural process but there are many ways to help out, especially if you provide focused, responsive care in a nurturing environment.
Breastfeeding - a breastfed baby will receive regular close contact with its mother, helping an early bond to develop. Unfortunately, this is not always easy, so speak to your health visitor if you need any help or assistance.
Touch - a baby's first communication is via touch, so hold your baby close, cradle her in your arms or use a sling if you need to get on with chores.
Massage - a more structured method of touching your baby and a way of promoting physical and mental growth as well as the parent/baby bond.
Singing - no matter how tone deaf you may think you are, your baby will love to hear your voice. The rhythmic nature of nursery rhymes is very soothing and is believed to help with language development.
Talk - although she may not understand what you are saying, your baby will love to hear you chatting away about what you are doing, whether it is changing her nappy, peeling the potatoes or folding the washing. She will gain confidence from the fact that you are always near and always focused upon her, even if the household chores need to be done.
Pull a face - even very young babies are fascinated by facial expressions.
Regular activities - such as nappy changing time, are a wonderful time to show your baby just how much you love them. Talk to her, kiss her tummy, tell how what lovely dimples she has, how much you love her smile. This will take your mind off what a messy job it is and show that you love her, no matter what.
Slow down - life is getting faster and faster but slow and steady is best for baby. Stop and spend time with your baby, relax and enjoy yourself, your baby will love you no matter what.
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