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A special bond with your baby during those first days is absolutely the most important thing – your baby will feel loved and safe, and you will learn that you are more than capable of loving and fulfilling the needs of your tot.
This is especially important for moms who had a C-section, and moms who are at risk of postpartum depression.
After those long nine months the moment has finally arrived – you get to meet the tiny human you have been growing in your belly.
And while we all have our own romantic ideas about it, once we’re facing that situation, a lot of us – especially first-time moms – are surprised just how difficult and overwhelming those first days can be.
I remember leaving the hospital with my eldest: at once, I was excited, feeling like I was embarking on the greatest adventure of my life, and terrified that I wouldn’t know how to take care of her.
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1. Get to Know Each Other
I was one of those pregnant women who researched and prepared for everything. But when I had my baby, I found out that there was still a few things I didn’t know.
One of them was that, as much as I wanted to be with my baby, and get to know her, there was a tiny piece, deep inside of me, that felt grief.
Because of certain health problems, I had my baby via a scheduled C-section, under total anesthesia. When I woke up and met my baby, she was perfect.
But she wasn’t the baby I had imagined during my pregnancy. I told no one that I missed that imaginary baby.
Although there is a stigma around this issue, and many moms don’t feel comfortable talking (or even thinking) about it, it happens fairly often. Allow yourself a bit of time to get to know this real child in front of you.
Your love will grow with every single day.
2. Try to Breastfeed
The other thing that no one told me is that breastfeeding is really hard for first-time moms. The worry and the frustration until you get the hang of it can be overwhelming.
But if you manage to go through with it, you will find that not only does it soon become effortless, it also creates a special kind of bond with your baby.
Actually, it worked out so well for us, that I ended up doing extended breastfeeding with both my kids. But to get there, I had to live through the first few weeks with my older ones, which were a blur of sleepless nights, painful plugged ducts, and never-ending pumping.
But, in hindsight, it was more than worth it. Plus, breastfeeding significantly lowers your breast cancer risk, so not only will you be nurturing your child, you will be doing something great for your health too.
Plus, breastfeeding significantly lowers your risk of breast cancer, so not only will you be nurturing your child, you will be doing something great for your health too.
For lots of useful and practical breastfeeding tips, check out the breastfeeding section on this blog!
3. Do Lots of Skin to Skin
Skin to skin is one of the fastest ways to establish a connection with your baby. Babies find the contact incredibly soothing, and it works wonders for those times when your little one is fussy. But cuddling with your kid is not just a way to pacify them. It’s the beginning of a lifelong loving connection.
My babies were both very fussy. I don’t know if it was colic or just their temperament. The only thing that could soothe them was skin-to-skin cuddling and white noise (which meant the vacuum cleaner, until we got a white noise machine.).
Just make sure the house is warm enough, you don’t want your little one to catch a cold.
4. Practice Babywearing
A lot of hands-off parents will tell you things like “Don’t pick them up every time they cry, they’ll get used to it”. But the truth of the matter is, your baby is out in the world for the first time, and you are their rock.
Using a baby carrier allows you to offer your baby a sense of security – and a chance to explore! – with minimum effort, and without completely neglecting chores and your needs. With my fussy children, I would never have been able to have anything done without a carrier.
RELATED: Best Baby Carriers for New Borns
On some days, a carrier was much easier to handle for walks as well. And remember that baby-wearing is not just for moms. My husband helped out a lot, especially because I suffer from back problems.
For a baby wrap product review (that will be especially helpful if you are petite!) click here.
5. Be Verbal
One of the few things your child knows from the birth is the sound of your voice. Don’t feel silly because your baby doesn’t understand you. This is a great way you can bond with your baby.
Talk and sing as much as you can, it will promote your kid’s wellbeing and development. With both of my kids I started talking to them while they were still in my belly. Avoiding baby talk is also super important, because kids learn to speak by listening to us and imitating what they hear.
I don’t know if my constant babbling has anything to do with it, but my kids were both early speakers. Even now, when they’re bigger, we talk a lot, and often sing together, and it brings us together.
Pick and choose the methods that work best for you, and feel free to experiment and adapt as you learn to bond with your baby. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mom, it’s that there isn’t just one right solution for any problem.
Every family is different, and they all find the solutions that are perfect for them. Finally, take the time to take care of yourself without feeling guilty about it. If you are happy and rested, your baby will be happy, too.