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Parenting
Vetted by Dr. Jasmin Rajesh, MBBS, MD (Ped.) on 09 May, 2022
The family bonding with the baby

Baby & Family: How to Foster the Much Needed Bond

Bonding is the feeling of intense attachment that develops between you and your baby, which makes you instinctively protect and care for them. While the mother and baby bond through pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, other family members may take some time to develop a close relationship with the new member. Helping your baby bond with the family members promotes their development and fosters a sense of security and self-worth. However, you should introduce your baby to family members one at a time to prevent overwhelming them.

How can dads bond with the baby?

It might take dads a little longer than moms to bond with babies, but they too develop a strong bond with their baby by caring, communicating, and playing. Here are some tips on how can a dad bond with the baby.
  • Spare 15-20 mins every day to conduct BabyG activities with your young one.
  • Massage your baby: Touch is a powerful element in bonding. Massaging your baby is a lovely way to deepen your connection and help you both relax.
  • Snuggle: Skin-to-skin contact always works! Cuddle your baby so that they feel your warmth, hear your heartbeat, and learn to recognise your smell.
  • Be playful: Once your baby is six months old, they’ll enjoy some playtime. Exuberant games like bouncing the baby and tickling can ramp up the release of the happy hormones—dopamine, beta-endorphin, and oxytocin—and give you and your baby the heady rush of bonding. 
  • Eye contact: If your baby is looking at you, look right into their eyes and smile. Let your facial expressions be animated and use sing-song voices as you talk and read to your baby. Simple games like peek-a-boo and mimicking your baby as they babble are fun ways to bond too.
  • Sing songs: Your baby loves listening to you and it will develop your baby’s language skills. So, sing songs to your baby at bedtime, in the car or wherever you are; they won’t mind if you are off-key.

 

How to help my baby bond with grandparents?

Grandparents are positive role models for children. They can help them understand their family history and heritage. Their dedicated attention helps babies feel safe and promotes their development. Even if your baby’s grandparents stay far away, here’s how you can help your baby bond with them:

  • Encourage frequent visits so that your baby stays connected to them
  • If you plan to visit, make sure that their house is baby-proofed well. Sharp and solid furniture should be covered with bumpers and any dangling cords should be taken care of.
  • Put up pictures of grandparents in your home or leaf through family photo albums and point them out to your baby often.
  • Give your children the time and materials needed to play and learn from their grandparents, like storybooks, play dough, toy animals, etc.
  • Stay connected with the grandparents through video calls, and share pictures and videos of your baby with them regularly.

 

How to encourage bonding between your older kids and the new baby?

All parents want their kids to bond with each other, stand up for each other, and enjoy each other's company. The process may not be easy, but here are some tips to encourage the baby bond with their siblings:

  • Spend time with your older kid while the little one is napping.
  • Do not try to fit your newborn into your pre-baby schedule. Design a new schedule that involves both your baby and older kids.
  • Include your older kid in baby-related activities like bathing, dressing, or singing to the baby. Praise your child when they act lovingly towards the baby and reward them for helping to take care of the baby.
  • Organise family activities that will create fun memories and lasting bonds.
  • Take family vacations so that your children can enjoy each other's company.

Bonding your kid with your immediate family can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. So get going with family bonding activities. 

 

References:

  1. KidsHealth. Bonding with your baby [Internet] [Updated June 2018]. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/bonding.html. Accessed on Dec 11, 2020.
  2. NCT. How can dads bond with their baby? [Internet] [Updated May 2019]. Available at: https://www.nct.org.uk/life-parent/bonding-and-caring-for-your-baby/how-can-dads-bond-their-baby#:~:text=It%20might%20just%20take%20a,way%20relationship%20starts%20to%20develop. Accessed on Dec 11, 2020.
  3. Raising children. Bonding for dads [Internet]. Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/38582/bonding_for_dads_transcript.pdf. Accessed on Dec 11, 2020.
  4. Healthychildren.org. Childproofing tips for grandparents [Internet]. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/A-Message-for-Grandparents-Keeping-Your-Grandchild-Safe-in-Your-Home.aspx. Accessed on Dec 26, 2020.
  5. KidsHealth. Bonding with grandparents [Internet] [Updated Jan 2017]. Accessed Dec 26, 2020.
  6. KidsHealth. Preparing your child for a new sibling [Internet] [Updated Nov 2014]. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sibling-prep.html?view=ptr&WT.ac=p-ptr. Accessed Dec 26, 2020.
  7. Attachment Parenting international. Sibling bonding [Internet]. Accessed on Dec 11, 2020.
  8. Understood. 7 ways to help your kids build a strong relationship [Internet]. Available at: https://www.understood.org/en/family/siblings/rivalries/7-ways-to-help-your-kids-build-a-strong-relationship. Accessed on Dec 11, 2020.

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