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Bonding With Baby
When Elliott was born I didn’t experience the gushing of love and emotion I’ve heard many mothers talk about. In fact, I didn’t even have it after a few days or even a month.
I remember feeling so guilty that after a couple of months the feeling was still absent and I was not bonding with my baby. Of course I loved him, but not the love I have for him now, the feeling of being totally and utterly ‘in love’. ‘What the hell is wrong with me’? I remember thinking. I was scared to tell anyone how I felt. It was my secret.
Little did I know at the time that I was suffering from the postnatal depression that wasn’t diagnosed until 19 months, I thought I was the worst mother in the world. But even so, not everyone bonds with their baby straight away, PND or no PND. Dr Anja Wittkowski, Clinical Psychologist at Manchester University states that ‘lots of women expect to feel a rush of love at birth, but studies show that, initially, around 40% of women feel indifferent to their baby, and for them it’s a longer process.’
I wrote a post a while ago called ‘7 things I Will Do Differently With My Next Child‘ because I know that there are things I do want to do differently. I’ve had people say that I’m being too hard on myself but because postnatal depression took so much away from my experience with Elliott as a baby, I want to be in a totally different mindset next time. As I write this blog post, I’m recalling my feelings and I can compare them to how I feel about Elliott now, the difference is amazing and I just wish I could have had the same feelings at the beginning of his life.
But, they say knowledge is power and with the knowledge I have from my experience, I’m certain I can experience the bond I craved with Elliott a lot earlier on with my next child if I just focus on these few areas:
- Breast feeding
Breastfeeding was a big factor that affected my bond with Elliott. From the moment Elliott was born he had trouble feeding, he was in special care because he didn’t feed properly and this continued at home. Feeding time was always long and drawn out, I got stressed and anxious as a result, feelings which Elliott likely absorbed. Now I am hugely aware of how essential the feeding process is for bonding, it’s a time where baby becomes attached to your smell and touch and can pick up on emotions, something I will be better prepared for next time.
- Making lots of eye contact
- Holding my baby close and forgetting about all the other things I have to do
- Sing, talk and laugh, let the positive and happy vibes flow
- Play – don’t worry about the dishes or washing, just play.
- Accept help
Although accepting help may not be directly related to bonding with your baby, it will definitely give you more time to focus on the bonding process. I remember that I didn’t ask for help or accept help and because of that I really struggled. Exhaustion took over and made it a lot harder to focus on Elliott without working about all the other things that I thought had to be done.
- Talk to a doctor
As in my case, postnatal depression can be a barrier to bonding, as can exhaustion or a complicated birth. If after a number of weeks you still feel distant from your baby, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Did you bond with your baby straight away or was there a delay?
This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
Having trouble during nappy change time with a wriggly baby? Try BabyLove Nappy Pants – with no tabs to contend with, the 360-degree stretchy waist allows you to pull them up quickly and easily, so your active toddler can get back to action in no time! Request a sample.
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