Bonding

Dec 28, 2010 No Comments by
Moments after delivery, you’re handed your long-anticipated bundle of joy, and she’s  more beautiful and more perfect than you ever dared to imagine. She looks up at you and your eyes lock in a heady gaze, forging an instant maternal-child blond. As you cradle her tiny form, breathe in her sweetness, cover her soft face with kisses, you feel emotions you never knew you had, and they overwhelm you in their intensity. You’re a mom in love.
And most likely, you where dreaming-or, at least, pregnant daydreaming. Birthing-room scenes like this one are the stuff dreams – and sappy commercials – are made of, but they don’t play out for a lot of new moms. A possibly more-realistic scenario: After a long, hard labor that’s left you physically and emotionally drained, a wrinkled, puffy, red-faced stranger is placed in your awkward arms, and the first thing you notice is that she doesn’t quite resemble the chubby-cheeked cherub you’d been expecting. The second thing you notice is that she doesn’t stop squalling. The third, that you have no idea how to make  her stop squalling. You struggle to nurse her, but she’s uncooperative; you try to socialize with her, but she’s more interested in squalling than in sleeping – and frankly, at this point, so are you. And you can’t help wondering (after you’ve woken up): “Have I missed my opportunity to bond with her?”
Absolutely, positively not. The proceses of bonding is different for every parent and every baby, and it doesn’t come with a use-by date. Though some moms bond faster than other with their newborns – maybe because they’ve had experience with infants before, their expectation are more realistic, their labors were easier, or their babies are more responsive – few find that attachment forming with super glue speed. The bonds that last a lifetime don’t form overnight. They form gradually, over time – something you and your baby have lots of ahead of you.
So give yourself that time – time to get used to begin a mother (it’s a major adjustment, after all) and time to get to know that your baby, who, let’s face it, is a newcomer in your life. Meet your baby’s basic need (and your own), and you’ll find that love connection forming – one day (and one cuddle) at a time. And speaking of cuddles, bring them on. The more nurturing you do, the more like a nurturer you’ll feel. Though it may not seem like it’s coming naturally at first, the more time you spend cuddling, caressing, feeding, massaging, singing to, cooing to, and taking to, your baby – the more time you spend skin to skin and face to face – the more natural it will start feeling, and the closer you’ll become. Believe it or not, before you know it, you’ll feel like the mother you are (really!), bound to your baby by the kind of love you’ve dreamed of.

After The Baby Is Born, Postpartum:The First Week
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