What is Baby Bonding and Attachment: The idea of attachment and bonding should not be a source of stress or make you feel like you’re a bad parent.
it comes to you and your baby, there’s no greater feeling of love. From the
moment your baby is placed in your arms, you’ll most likely feel a deep
emotional connection between the two of you.
a special and unique feeling, and there are many different words used to
describe it. You’ll most likely hear your doctor or midwife referring to this
feeling as ‘attachment’ or ‘bonding’. It used to be a universal convention in
hospitals everywhere that mums and babies were supposed to get straight down to
‘bonding’ after labour! Nowadays the medical professionals are a bit more
relaxed, and know that sometimes mothers and parents need time to build up a
strong bond with their baby.
is heaps written about attachment theory, the different types of attachment,
and potential ways that types of attachment develop based on a wide range of
factors. It can all seem a bit confusing.
new parents find these concepts daunting and it can be a real source of
anxiety, worrying that you’re not forming a ‘healthy attachment’ or ‘bonding
properly’ with your baby. These are all perfectly normal feelings, nearly every
new parent goes through it and it’s important to know that you’re not alone in
the way you’re feeling.
idea of attachment and bonding should not be a source of stress or make you
feel like you’re a bad parent - they’re simply useful terms to understand what
you and your baby are feeling, and how your relationship is developing
we take a closer look at what the main difference is between attachment and
bonding, to give you a little insight and reassurance.
What is ‘attachment’?
idea of attachment has a bit more of a broader meaning in terms of parenting
psychology compared to bonding. It’s more about how the ways you interact with
your baby in the early stages, impacts on the further development of your
relationship with them. It’s about both you and your baby and understanding how
your baby picks up on even the most subtle ways you interact with them.
‘healthy’ attachment is one that works for you and your baby. As a mother, you
are your baby’s primary caregiver, they rely on you for everything - both their
physical and emotional needs. It is not unusual for your baby to test how you
respond to them - and it’s how you react to them that determines the
development of your attachment relationship.
What can I do to help build a healthy
is all about providing reassurance to your baby that you understand their
needs, and you are responsive to them. That doesn’t always mean responding in a
split second every time they start crying, you want to make sure you help them
develop strong emotional dependence and other social skills such as
independence, patience, self reliance etc.
about providing all the things they need from birth - food, cuddles, play,
interaction - to help show them that you’re there for them and they can feel
secure in your love for them. You can then build on this together over time,
and this relationship will develop as both you and your baby mature into your
What is ‘bonding’?
is a word that can be used to describe a slightly different feeling and concept
to attachment. It’s more related to you as the parent and primary care giver,
and the feelings you have towards and about your baby.
emotional feeling of love, care, tenderness and kindness you feel towards your
baby can often feel overwhelming at times - especially in the early days
immediately after birth. Some mothers report these intense feelings during
their pregnancy - some on finding out they’re pregnant, some when they see the
first scans of their baby. Other new parents find it can take a little longer
for these feelings to really develop - and that’s okay too. Every parent is
What can I do to bond with my baby?
mentioned above, bonding can be a cause of anxiety for some parents - while
some may step into the role like a duck to water, some parents find the
transition a little trickier. Seeing other parents apparently so well bonded
and understanding of their baby can make a new parent who’s struggling feel
is not a competition and it’s okay to feel a bit lost at first. Pregnancy
hormones are powerful and confusing, both pre and post birth so don’t be too
hard on yourself if you have off days. What’s most important is spending
quality time with your baby, learning about them, how they respond to you,
learning about how they cry and when, so you can build a better understanding
of them and a strong foundation from which to continue building your bonding
relationship with them. This helps to demonstrate to your baby that they are
loved, and you’re able to respond to their needs.
When should I be worried about attachment and
bonding with my baby?
not uncommon for many women to experience post-natal blues, and feel a bit down
after birth but post natal depression is serious can have a real impact on how
you first interact with your baby and experience motherhood.
you’re really struggling to understand your baby’s needs, feel disengaged,
uninterested or resentful towards your baby, make sure you have conversation
with your doctor or midwife. Often talking about what you’re experiencing can
really help put you on a more positive path as your midwife, loved ones and
close friends rally to support you and help you work towards a more positive
and bonding, although perhaps slightly different, are both ideas that come from
the same place - building a positive relationship with your baby. One impacts
the other and vice versa.
most important is that you feel love, care and nurture towards your baby - you
won’t always get it right every single time, but if those three things are at
the heart of everything you do with your baby, you’ll be more than okay.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.