Ways to bond with your baby: I’m worried I won’t bond with my baby. In most cases, you may not bond with your baby instantly and there are many reasons for that!
Studies estimate an expectant mother to have on average 7 million
worries about their coming baby and impending motherhood.
Number One has to be
the worry that you won’t bond with your beautiful baby when he’s born. What if
you don’t instantly love him?
What if he doesn’t like you? What if you are
quite literally the least qualified person to parent anything?
Then get yourself a cup of chamomile tea or a family size block of
chocolate or both and then read on. It’s going to be ok.
First things first; It is sometimes true; you may
not love your baby instantly.
If you are about to become a mother you are naturally pretty scared
right now. But human beings face their worst fears every day. Because we are a
generally pretty fearful bunch, there is a wealth of information to help us get
to other side of those things that are terrifying us, such as speaking in
public or getting on a plane without imploding. A wonderful technique for
facing your fear is to turn your ‘What if?’ worries into ‘And then what?’
I’ll explain this a bit further.
You are thinking right now ‘What if my baby and I don’t instantly love
each other?’ Now let’s imagine that your worst fear comes true; your baby is
born and you don’t feel instant adoration and bliss and bursting with wonderful
goodness of the joy of being a mother.
Now think ‘And then what?’
Think through what will happen next. And then think about how you’ll
deal with it if it does. You may not bond with your baby straight away. It is
extremely common for new mums not to feel that the second their baby pops out,
for some it just takes a bit more time.
The reality is that we are led to believe that instant bonding is the
norm, when in truth it is rarer than you think. And if you don’t bond instantly
with your child it will all be ok, this will come with time. And in the
meantime you will get on with the job of mothering the very best way you know
how, because that is what mums do. Right now your baby just needs to be fed,
safe and cared for.
Unconditional love will come when it’s ready; trust me. And when it
comes it will smack you over like a tidalwave.
Really good reasons why you may not love your baby
the second he comes out
1. You are exhausted and most
likely heavily medicated
Labour is hard work; hence the reason we call it labour. By the time
your baby comes out of you you will be exhausted, likely completely drained of
energy, haven’t slept for days, and to top it all off you might be dosed up on
all sorts of medication. It is unlikely you’ll feel any normal feeling or
emotion right now. You won’t even know who you are, let alone why you came to
this crazy hospital in the first place.
2. He has been causing you
incredible discomfort and immense pain for the last few months/weeks/hours
You are a reasonable adult, and generally if someone causes you grief
day in and day out for months you will likely call them on it, and probably
remove that difficult person from your environment. When the person causing you
grief is the baby in your belly you don’t really have that option, but it makes
complete sense if you are not instantly adoring this little guy the moment you
You may have had a tumultuous lead up to the meeting. You may need a
few moments to collect yourself before you are ready to love. My first feeling
when my son was born was just gratitude that he finally came out. And then I
threw up a few times. No instant bonding for me.
3. You are experiencing the ‘Deer
in Headlights’ reaction
You are very likely in shock. You are probably not feeling much of
anything. Or you are likely to be overwhelmed; feeling so many different things
that you really can’t narrow it down to one. Or you might be so confused and at
a loss as to what do next that you don’t know where to start.
4. You can’t just switch on the Mum
switch after 30 years of being the fun-loving party girl
Or even after 30 years of being a regular person and not having to be
responsible for more than a houseplant. Feeling like a mum is not something
that happens straight away to very many people. For some people it takes
months, for some it takes years. Some may never comfortably feel like a mum.
And that’s ok. I didn’t feel like a mum until my first baby was eight years
You are a human being and aren’t really accustomed to loving anything
instantly. Really the only thing every woman feels the instant their child is
born is complete and utter terror.
Feeling an instant bond with your baby is more of an
urban legend than reality
Now that you know it’s completely normal to feel all sorts of weird and
wonderful things about your newborn, let’s look at what you’ll do next. You
will take that lack of instant bonding or feeling completely comfortable with
the tiny screaming pooping thing that you are now responsible for forever and
you will get on with it.
And then what?
Some great ideas for things you can do when you
don’t bond with your baby instantly
1. Ask for help
Ask the nurses, your partner, your parents, your friends, the local pharmacist,
and the old lady who lives across the road and who keeps offering to help.
Accept that you do not need to do it all, you do not need to do it alone, and
you are completely normal in needing a hand.
2. Sleep. Shower. Eat.
Then repeat this process day after day until you start to feel like you
again. It will come, I promise you. And once you feel like you, you will be
ready and open to start loving the screaming little thing that for some reason
came home from the hospital with you.
3. Get some sunshine on your skin
This is helpful for so many reasons. Vitamin D makes you feel better
both physically and mentally, and walking outside your house can remind you
that you are part of a bigger world and it is not all just you and your baby.
Feeling the sun can also remind you of normal daylight hours, which like a
problem gambler, you kind of lose sight of when you have a newborn.
4. Just be with him
Just start off having a relationship and hang out with your baby like
you are housemates, which you are. You will start to find things that you have
in common. You will start to have inside jokes and make memories together that
only the two of you will understand.
Talk to him, even if you feel like an
idiot. He can hear you, and after a while, he will respond.
I remember the first six weeks being hard because it felt like I was
looking after someone else’s pet shiatzu, either that or some kind of bomb. Not
a baby. After six weeks my son smiled at me for the first time and suddenly he
became human and everything became better.
5. Ask for more help
Keep asking for help. Especially if after the first month or so you
still really feel like you are struggling. You not be bonding yet with your
baby because you are feeling symptoms of post natal depression. This condition
is also completely normal and far more common than you
think. Help is out there and can make everything better, just make sure that
you ask for it.
You will bond with your baby, it just may take a
Then you will love him unconditionally until he turns about two. Then
it’s a whole new ball game, but that’s a topic for another article.
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