Parents assume that bonding happens immediately at birth, and whilst it can, for many, birth, particularly the first time round is a rollercoaster of emotion oscillating between shock, elation, worry and love.
I suffered from a traumatic birth with my first son, Oliver, his entry into the world was a shock for him as much as it was for me. He was born by emergency c-section at 36 weeks and 6 days after I was induced. I loved him but I also felt horrendous: confused, medicated, anxious. The birth of my second son, Xander was in sharp contrast as he was born by a tranquil elective. The birth I had hoped I’d have with Xander.
But life isn’t a Hollywood movie. Everyone is different and while some new mums will bond with their baby immediately, it’s not unusual for it to take longer. To ease into becoming a mother.
The good news is too that bonding doesn’t have to be some maternal bolt of lightening, it grows with daily routines, of being around your baby, at any points of skin to skin contact, breastfeeding if you nurse, bath time and changing time too.
I’ve teamed up with Huggies® Newborn Wipes to show new parents how they can bond with their baby through daily routine such as changing your baby or activities such as baby yoga and baby sensory. Huggies® experts, Midwife Natalie Lee and bonding expert, Gayle Berry also share their invaluable advice and tips for new mums below while I invited my good friend, Julie and her oh so gorgeous newborn baby, Zac, to join me for a mum-to-mum chat about everything baby and bonding from pregnancy and beyond.
You can watch a video of my chat with Julie who I’ve known since I was 14! below
I hope this video shows every new mum that it is completely natural to find parenting overwhelming at times – from worrying about the birth to how your new baby will fit in with their siblings. The one thing that I found key was finding my tribe, a network of like-minded parents both online and in real life. People I could lean on for support and advice. Blogging and vlogging played a huge role in helping me overcome a traumatic birth, connecting with other mums.
If I can give any advice to new mums it’s to know that the tough times will pass, that life improves from those early days and months which can be hugely draining physically and mentally. To know that you can reach out for support too if you need it. You GP is there to help you.
And, of course, my second piece of advice to new mums is that wet wipes will be your new best friend. Even with a 7 and 4-year-old, I still bulk-buy wet wipes and always have them in my handbag. I don’t remember life without them!
Huggies® Newborn Wipes are absolutely brilliant. They’re safe from day one and are designed specifically to care for even the most sensitive skin. Reassuringly, they’re made with natural, absorbent fibres and are completely hypoallergenic – made with 99% pure water and no fragrance. They’re completely free from alcohol, perfume, phenoxyethanol and parabens and clinically tested as safe from birth.
I can’t recommend them enough and personally, I found them to be far more practical and effective than the cotton wool and water method that we were recommended in the hospital which is fiddly and not possible on the move.
Now over to the Huggies® experts for their invaluable advice and top tips on bonding…
Natalie Lee, Huggies® Wipes Midwife, top tips on bonding
For first-time mums:
- Skin to skin is amazing for bonding, tuck your baby into your nightie. It’s a wonderful experience for both of you, the baby hears your heartbeat which usually has an instant calming effect and it encourages the release of your ‘feel good’ hormones.
- Have lovely relaxing baths together, skin to skin and warm water both have calming effects, which can only increase your bond.
- Allow yourselves space and time to get to know each other. Think about how having streams of visitors may inhibit this.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself. You will not be an ‘expert’ no one is. Go with your instincts. People will give you a lot of conflicting advice. For example, many women are told not to pick up their babies if they are crying, this goes against all our natural instincts and can come between your bonding.
Tips for second-time plus mums:
- All of the above applies.
- Ask for help if you are struggling to juggle it all.
- Don’t try and be superwoman, it’s OK to accept help.
- Don’t be eager to leave the hospital as soon as you can following the birth. Some one-to-one time can be a very special time that you may not get at home.
- Enjoy this time, and really be in the moment, it goes so quickly.
Gayle Berry: Huggies® Wipes bonding expert says:
Baby massage and yoga is a fantastic way to connect with your baby and help you both relax together. A baby’s most developed sense at birth is touch so massage is a perfect way to communicate how much you love your baby.
Numerous studies have shown that babies thrive on skin to skin contact. Your body as a new mother is designed to meet all your baby’s needs. Your breasts can provide food, your arms are transport, your body heat provides warmth, your voice is music, your beautiful face is the best entertainment and your hands provide nurturing touch bringing comfort and communicating love. The more skin to skin you give your baby, the more easily he will adjust from the environment of the womb to the world. This is especially important in the first four weeks of life when your baby’s senses are trying to process so much information. Give yourself and your baby time to get to know each other and adjust to journeying together.
The more skin to skin you give your baby, the more easily he will adjust from the environment of the womb to the world. This is especially important in the first four weeks of life when your baby’s senses are trying to process so much information. Give yourself and your baby time to get to know each other and adjust to journeying together.
As your baby grows, touch and massage help to create a “love bubble” where your body and your baby’s body produces feel-good hormones such as oxytocin that literally make you feel more loving towards each other. You can create a love bubble with your baby at anytime at home when your baby is in a quiet alert state (normally after a feed and a sleep). Make sure your baby is happy and healthy before you begin and has not had
Make sure your baby is happy and healthy before you begin and has not had any vaccinations in the last 72 hours. You can ask your baby’s permission to massage and then using an organic based coconut oil you can start to massage your baby’s feet. You may notice that as you do this, your baby’s toes will grasp your fingers fired by his basic nervous system reflexes. You can massage the feet all over and play with his toes. You can gently press in the centre of the foot with your thumbs to activate what some cultures believe is a “calming centre”. This can be useful for unsettled babies or babies with colic. You can
You can keep talking and smiling with your baby, remembering to observe him closely so that you can stop if he has had enough massage. A clockwise massage on the belly can also be extremely useful for releasing wind and helping with tummy pains. Gentle strokes move air bubbles through the bowel and can bring comfort. Paddling the hands from just above the belly button towards the hips can also relieve wind. Massage sessions with your baby should last as long as your baby wants them too. Baby is always in charge and don’t be afraid to pick up your baby and talk to him if he wants to talk to you during the massage. You are learning together. Enjoy this time together and use it as a chance to get to know each other as well as relaxing together.
Changing time is all too often rushed, but it’s a great opportunity to bond and give your little one all your attention. You can give your baby smiles and talk to them while stroking their legs or giving them a little foot massage. Singing a song to them, or having a special “nappy-changing toy” is also a good idea.
If you can, let them keep their nappy off for a while and kick about. This will give you more time to massage their feet and legs and help create the perfect environment for bonding.The fewer artificial fragrances around you, the better. This lets you exchange your natural smell with your baby, which helps with bonding. A very subtle, calming smell where you’re changing, however, is just fine.
As babies get older, nappy changing can get a bit trickier! Having a little song that signals change time can help them know it’s coming and make it more fun. This is also an opportunity to get their legs and hips moving with some baby yoga.
To celebrate my collab with Huggies® Newborn Wipes they are offering a £50 gift card for a surprise high street department store where you can buy items to help you bond with your baby.
Simply enter via Rafflecopter below.
Ends April 20th 2017
No cash alternative.
If the winner does not respond within 7 days of the email sent, a new winner will be chosen.
This a commissioned post.