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Developing a close and loving relationship with your baby
Encouraging mothers to be and their partners to connect with their growing baby will help her/them be more responsive once the baby is born as connecting with baby is good for his development
Starting to form a relationship with their baby during pregnancy is helpful to parents in many ways; it supports the transition to parenthood and lays the foundations for a strong and loving bond. Lots of mothers to be / couples do this instinctively. You can take time out every day to relax and think about your baby, stroke your baby bump, noticing when baby moves and talking to your growing baby. Encourage partners and siblings to be involved wherever possible.
New babies have a strong need to be close to their parents, as this helps them to feel secure and loved. When babies feel secure they release a hormone called oxytocin, which acts like a fertiliser for their growing brain, helping them to be happy babies and more confident children and adults. Holding, smiling and talking to your baby also releases oxytocin in you, which helps you to feel calm and happy – (Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative)
Did you know that skin to skin immediately after delivery is a lovely way for you to welcome your new baby and that it will help to calm you both? Skin contact encourages surges of mothering hormones which helps form a close bond with your new baby.
Your baby’s brain will be growing and it is important for you to respond to your baby’s needs to encourage healthy brain connections and feelings of safety and security. Think about the needs of your new baby for physical and emotional closeness and comfort. It is not good for babies to be left to cry, so responding to a baby’s needs will not ‘spoil’ them, but will help them to feel safe and secure. Be reassured that your instincts will prompt you to do this and being responsive is a good thing. By keeping your baby close, you will learn to notice and respond to their needs for comfort, closeness and feeding. Becoming a mother begins before birth – Saying ‘hello’ to your baby can start today!
The importance for parents and babies to have a close loving relationship
Most parents feel instinctively that they want to keep their baby close and respond to their baby’s needs for closeness and comfort, but they can sometimes worry whether this is the right thing to do. By doing this it encourages high levels of mothering hormone and low levels of stress hormones which will encourage optimal brain development for baby.
Keep your baby close and lookout for cues for what your baby is telling you. Be reassured it is a good thing to respond to your baby’s needs. It is not good for babies to be left to cry, it is not possible to spoil a baby but will help them feel safe and secure. Closeness is the key. Have a look at the wonderful leaflet by Unicef’s Baby Friendly Initiative, called ‘Building a Happy Baby’ and The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative video, Breastfeeding and Relationship Building.