14 Ways to Bond With Your Baby: Before, During and After Birth

From talking to your bump and visualising your first meeting with baby, to creating the ultimate birthing experience, there are many ways to bond with your baby, before, during and after birth. To get the lowdown we talked to doula and hypnobirthing practitioner Nic Bambury to get her tips. Here’s what she had to say.

Ways to Bond With Your Baby Before Birth

Bonding tip #1: Talk to your bump
“Your baby’s hearing is developing all the time. From around 23 weeks he/she will be able to hear your heartbeat clearly and from around 29-33 weeks, baby will start to recognise voices and higher pitched sounds from the womb. At this point it’s really nice to talk or sing to your bump as some research shows that babies can actually identify their mother’s voice. If you feel a little silly talking to your bump, try reading a story out load instead.”

Bonding tip #2: Play music
“Playing music to your bump can have a relaxing effect on both you and your little one. Baby will start to recognise the different rhythms and noises and may react with kicks or punches, which in turn brings you a lot of comfort and reassurance.”

Bonding tip #3: Touch your bump
“A soothing way to bond with your baby is to gently stroke your bump. As you feel your baby move, you ‘chat’ with kicks and rubs between you.”

Bonding tip #4: Imagine meeting baby
“Studies into brain patterns show that the same brain centers light up whether we actually do something or imagine doing something. Therefore, if you visualise meeting your baby, your brain experiences the meeting as if it’s actually happening. Try to imagine how small and warm and beautiful your baby is, then focus on the joy of meeting them, holding them, kissing them and touching their little feet.”

Bonding tip #5: Be thankful
“Expressing gratitude for the baby being in your tummy really creates a lot of connection. So either out loud or in your head, thank baby whenever you feel a little kick. I also recommend that when you wake in the morning, put one hand on your heart and the other on your tummy and say ‘thank you for this precious gift’.”

Bonding tip #6: Meditate
“There is a growing body of evidence that suggests prenatal meditation helps with bonding, as it provides uninterrupted time to connect with your baby. You can look up meditation techniques on YouTube, however, I recommend going to a guided meditation. As well as the opportunity to meet new mums who are going through the same experience as you, it’s a bit nicer than sitting in front of your computer.”

Ways to Bond With Your Baby During Labour

Bonding tip #7: Forget everything you’ve heard
“If you have a good birth experience it can really enhance the bond you have with baby. However, a lot of us have preconceptions about what birth is like and we’re scared even before we go into labour. There is a theory called the Law Of Attraction, which suggests that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. As a doula I’ve seen some amazing birth experiences, so I always encourage parents to forget everything they’ve heard, release those fears placed in their minds by others and just connect and go with their bodies and babies.”

Bonding tip #8: Choose your hospital wisely
“Your birthing environment affects the type of birth you have, so before you choose a hospital do a tour and ask relevant questions about the environment, how you will be supported and what their medicalization rates are like (i.e C-sections and inductions). Ultimately, just as having a supportive and informed partner is important, it’s also vital that your OB/GYN and hospital support your birth choices.”

Bonding tip #9: Mind your words
“We know from Neuroscience that words are everything. That little rhyme ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’ is absolutely not true. The words that we use and more importantly, how we use them, is everything, and that’s why in Hypnobirthing we reframe negative words associated with labour and birth. For example, we refer to contractions (a harsh-sounding word) as waves, and a stalled labour as ‘a lull in labour’. We also use positive verbal support, so instead of questions like ‘are you in pain?’, which cause mum to scan her body and look for pain, we suggest ‘are you perfectly comfortable?’ In my classes we prep dads so they knows how to speak to mum during labour and can brief your midwife accordingly.”

Bonding tip #10: Trust your body
“If you feel relaxed and calm you’ll create lots of Oxytocin, which is the hormone you need for your waves (contractions) to be efficient. There will also be a release of Beta-endorphins, which are your body’s natural comfort measure and are several times stronger than morphine. Having a good education of birthing hormones helps you to understand what is happening in labour, connect with your baby and ultimately have a better birthing experience.”

Bonding tip #11: Get the ambience right
“Consider how other mammals give birth effortlessly in their natural environment. Generally they go into a more secluded space where it’s safe, comfortable and dimly light. You can do the same by dimming lights, playing gentle music and surrounding yourself with comforting/familiar aromas.”

Ways to Bond With Your Baby After Birth

Bonding tip #12: Keep baby with you
“The hour after birth is called the ‘Golden Hour’ or the ‘Hour of Power’, because it is crucial bonding time for mum and baby. I recommend that you receive your baby from birth and lift him/her up to you slowly so that you can both look at each other. When you hold baby close to you, your heartbeats synchronise, baby’s temperature regulates, and you’ll both get a huge boost of Oxytocin, which is referred to in the birthing world as the ‘hormone of love’. Obviously if there is something wrong with baby and he/she needs to be taken to NICU then that’s another issue.”

Bonding tip #13: Wait a while, dad
“First-time dads often want to hold the baby straight after birth. However, I always advise dads to either wait for an hour after birth or cuddle with mum and baby together, which is magical.”

Bonding tip #14: Put baby on the breast
“It’s really important not to get stressed about breastfeeding as this can actually hinder your ability to nurse. Instead, get yourself into a comfortable position with cushions to support you, put your baby on your chest and he/she will do the rest. Whether your baby nuzzles or feeds, both help with bonding and birth of the placenta.”

For more information about Nic Bambury or to book a Hypnobirthing course with her click here.

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