When pregnant, you imagine the moment you hold your baby for the very first time. You think your body will be overwhelmed with love and protective instinct. However, for many moms, that isn’t the case. Bonding with your baby is the feeling of unconditional love and attachment between the two of you. For some new parents, it is instantaneous, and for others, it develops over time. Here are a few ways to help the bonding process between you and your bundle of joy.

Skin to Skin Contact

Holding your baby close to you, with your skin touching theirs, as soon as you can after the birth of your baby can help the bonding process immensely. However, if your baby was born from a C-section, or needs special medical attention, the opportunity for immediate skin-to-skin contact isn’t always possible. It is important to remember not to panic, and that this isn’t the only way to bond with your baby. Simply ask your midwife or doctor to let you know when you can spend this bonding time with your baby.

Feeding Time

Breastfeeding is ideal for skin contact between you and your baby, and it is an exercise in being able to read your baby’s facial expressions and body language. Your baby will learn to trust and be comforted by you as they are feeling loved and nourished. If you aren’t able to nurse, or are a dad, use bottle feeding times as an opportunity to bond in a similar fashion. As you hold the bottle, look right into their eyes and maintain eye contact. This will help your baby remember who you are and that you love them immensely.

Baby Massage

Daily massage is an excellent way to bond with your baby. Researchers are finding that baby massage can promote better sleeping habits, enhance their immune system and intellectual development, and relive colic. While in the hospital after delivery, ask your nurse if there are any classes available on baby massage during your stay, or for them to show you how. To learn how to properly massage your baby for maximum benefit, click here.

Bonding with your baby doesn’t necessarily follow a checklist. However if you are feeling resentment towards your baby postpardum, or that after six months, the connection still isn’t there, contact your doctor for more support. For more ways to bond with your baby, click here.