Family Magazine

Attachment Parenting and Birth Bonding

By Craftycrunchymama

Attachment Parenting and Birth Bonding

Bonding right away.

The first "Baby B" of Attachment Parenting as explained by Dr. William Sears in his book "The Baby Book" is birth bonding. Attachment starts before the birth, but the bonding that occurs at and immediately after the birth is so very important.
To facilitate better bonding with your baby at birth, start with a plan of how you want your ideal birth to work itself out. This might not be the way it happens in real life, but keep in mind the way you want it and make sure your doctor and nurses know these specific things such as: you want Daddy to catch the baby, you want the baby placed on you immediately after the birth, breastfeeding right away is important to you, you want the room kept quiet so you can focus on your baby, etc.
If possible, have the baby placed on your abdomen immediately after the birth. It not only warms the baby, it also helps him to feel more comfortable as he can hear your heartbeat and his face is also close to the breast to facilitate breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding as soon as baby is ready is also really important for bonding. It helps mother and baby feel connected as well as releases the hormones that are needed to contract the uterus.
There are many other bonding activities such as looking into each others eyes, talking, and touching, that will provide an environment for healthy bonding at this special time. Having your baby room-in with you is helpful in promoting the bonding experience.
Fathers can get involved too! Fathers can hold, change, talk to, and look into baby's eyes to facilitate special bonding. They play a special part in baby's life and should get started getting to know and connecting with their newborn right away.
How Birth Bonding Worked for Us
Baby J was delivered by cesarean section. My initial plans on birth bonding were thrown out the window. I didn't get to see him come out, but hearing his first cry was an amazing experience.
What was even more amazing was when the nurse brought him over to me. I will never forget the way it made me feel. I got to look at him, talk to him, and kiss him. He knew my voice and he calmed right down.
This might not have been my ideal first bonding experience, but it was mine and I owned it, lived it, and loved it!
As soon as I was stitched up, Baby J was handed to me and I never had to let him go. He nursed right away and was always held by me (unless a family member came to meet him!). I talked to him, cuddled him, kissed him, and smelled him.
The hospital that I was in facilitated this bonding experience very well and encouraged it, even. They left him in our room from the very moment we got there.
Daddy J was very involved in this whole process. He was the first to talk to him and hold him! He snuggled him, changed him, helped me breastfeed when I needed it, and talked to him. I was very tired after the birth so the boys had a a lot of bonding time!
So what's the importance of bonding anyway?
When you bond with your baby after the birth, you learn about them and they learn about you. You learn to react to their cries and they learn that they can trust you to help them. They learn that you are there to comfort them and you won't leave. It is the foundation of trust that will last all throughout your relationship.
Does this mean that if your bonding experience was not successful at the beginning that you will  never be attached? Absolutely not! Birth bonding is just one step of many that will get you on the track to attachment parenting.
How did you bond with your baby when  he/she was first born? I would love to hear!

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