Apart from all the warm and fuzzy feelings that experience when they’re bonding with the baby, the bonding also reinforces parental instincts such as rushing to its aid, knowing what the baby is feeling, and being finely tuned to their emotions and behavior. This bond is especially crucial between the mother and the baby. In fact, it’s necessary that moms spend as much time physically and emotionally as possible with their newborn, for the baby’s all-round health and development.
Let’s understand the science behind how a mom’s physical and emotional connection helps the baby become stronger, smarter and healthier.
All the hugging, kissing and cuddling that you’re indulging your baby with now, will eventually become the building blocks for the baby’s brain’s emotional circuitry. The first part to develop in the human brain is the right hemisphere which not only houses the fear center - the fight, flight or freeze reflex - but also forms the emotional center of the brain. Thus, your baby’s first learning experiences are always emotional. Making special efforts for bonding, hence becomes an important aspect of raising a healthy child since that is the foundation of their future as an adult.
Your home is also the laboratory for social conditioning of the baby. Making a conscious effort to have a healthy bond with your baby right from the beginning will help it be more sociable and well-adjusted in the outside world. The right reactions to the baby’s needs teaches the baby how to respond to situations correctly, as it grows up.
For example, when the baby is hungry, it is not in a position to tend to its needs or regulate emotions. When you respond to that need and take care of it, the baby has a positive experience which its brain registers and remembers. On the other hand, if ignored, emotions escalate, needs aren’t fulfilled, and that gets registered as a negative experience. Repetition of either experiences will govern your baby’s emotional range, when it grows up.
Physical contact is perhaps the best way to form a secure attachment with your baby. Moreover, touch becomes a very powerful and reliable mode of communication between the baby and the mother, as it builds on the connection you shared in the womb. When the baby cries, take it in your arms and cradle it gently. Babies find immense comfort in skin to skin contact. Hold the baby in a close embrace while you feed it or put it to sleep. Give the baby a gentle massage every now and then.
Try to maintain as much eye contact as you can with the baby. In its early years, the baby picks up all its facial expressions and gestures from you. So, be sure to exercise a long range of pleasant and calming emotions in front of the baby.
Listening to your voice helps the baby’s auditory skills and brain development, and builds a feeling of safety and trust within them. This sense of security is crucial for the baby’s emotional well-being. So, don’t hesitate to have lengthy conversations with your little one!
Studies have proven that babies who share a close bond and attachment with their mommies in their early years grow up to:
Have higher self-esteem
Be physically and psychologically healthy
Have better reaction to stress and crisis
Are sensitive and empathetic
Have better parental relationships
Better analytical and problem-solving skills
Research shows that even the parents benefit from bonding with the baby. Happier the baby, happier is the mother. In some cases, it’s likely that it may take days, weeks, and in some cases, even months for the mother to develop a strong bond with the baby. It is natural for that to happen. In times like these, it’s important to be patient and remember that the baby needs the physical and emotional connection more than you do. There will be times when you’ll feel lost, confused and that you’re not doing enough. These feelings are natural, but don’t let them stop you from fostering a healthy environment for your child. Follow your parental instincts, it’ll lead you in the right direction.
Any Questions? Do shoot away!