Most infants are ready to bond immediately, according to KidsHealth.org. The bonding experience is primarily based on trust, which is established when you meet your baby’s needs. Although every infant is unique, it is important to understand the benefits of your infant developing trust and how you can foster that development and overcome its challenges.
According to nonprofit online resource HelpGuide.org, bonding with your baby and establishing trust helps her to form brain connections. Connecting with your baby also provides a calming experience that allows her nervous system to develop properly. Additionally, a secure bond in infancy helps your child to communicate and form relationships throughout life. HelpGuide.org also indicates that failing to provide a trusting bond can result in insecurity and confusion about identity.
You can bond with your infant and build his trust by playing with him and talking to him. Provide plenty of eye contact and skin-to-skin contact. Ask your baby’s doctor about gentle infant message techniques, and try mirroring baby’s movements. In general, answering your baby’s cries and providing basic care, like feeding and bathing, helps your baby develop trust and fosters an environment for his growth to flourish.
It might be harder for your infant to bond with you if she suffers from health problems or if she has spent time in an intensive care unit away from you. It can also be more difficult to develop trust with one caregiver if she has a large number of ever-changing caregivers. Bonding can be challenging for you if you are suffering from depression or high levels of stress, so take care of yourself and talk to your doctor if you feel that depression, stress or sleep deprivation are preventing you from bonding with your baby.
Bonding with your baby and developing trust are not things that can be forced. Keep in mind that there is no magic checklist to follow, and you can't expect to understand your baby’s needs all of the time. Do your best to follow the emotional cues between you and your baby, and discuss any concerns about the bonding experience with your pediatrician.