When your first baby is born, you’re probably a bit nervous about bonding. Breastfeeding is one of the more obvious bonding experiences that comes to mind, but if you’re having difficulty with it, you might feel like a failure and even wonder if you’ll ever bond with your child.
It’s hard to look at this brand-new little person and imagine that not long from now, they’re going to be covering you in kisses and calling you Mommy!
The good news is, you’ll soon find that their universe revolves around you and that they love you very much, but here’s some tips for some fun activities you can do with your baby/toddler to strengthen that bond even more.
We all love cuddles, right? Of course, so does your baby! In particular, the feeling of your warm skin against theirs is very soothing and pleasant for a baby. This unfamiliar new world that they are in can feel pretty scary sometimes, and a nice relaxing skin-to-skin cuddle with mommy is a great way to calm them down when they’re frightened or upset.
Skin-to-skin cuddling of your baby also has benefits you may not have been aware of. According to the International Breastfeeding Centre, skin-to-skin contact helps to stabilize the baby’s body temperature, heart and breathing rates, and immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth will colonize the baby with the same bacteria as the mother, which is believed to prevent allergies.
READING TO YOUR BABY
You can start reading to a baby straightaway! It might feel a little bit silly to be reading to a newborn, but your baby has been listening to your voice while in the womb for a while now and already finds it soothing. It’s easier to get into the reading habit now than when they’re a 4-year old racing around the house, so start reading now for great rewards later.
The experience of reading has so much to teach babies: the tactile sensation of the pages, the sounds of the words, the visuals of the pictures, etc.
Reading to your child benefits their language development, as they get used to the sounds and words. It also helps the baby to learn about the things they will see in their daily life. Make sure you point to the pictures while you’re reading the story, i.e. if there’s a train in the story, point to the train as you say the word “train”.
You’d be surprised before they even start to speak how many vocabulary words they will have committed to memory this way. But beyond development, this is also a shared experience, and before long they’re going to be following you around the house with board books asking you to read to them!
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