Bonding with our babies begins before they are born. We should talk to them when they are still in our wombs. The baby will get used to hearing our voices, and we can begin to feel a connection to our child from the very beginning. Bonding is not magical nor does it happen automatically. As moms, we will have to work to bond with our babies and to get them to bond with us. But the connection that we create with our babies will be everything in the world.
According to WebMD, bonding takes many forms. These forms include holding the baby and skin-to-skin contact, talking to the baby and feeding and caring for the baby. The newborn learns to trust her parents and rely on them for her comfort and affection needs. Bonding is also not always immediate, and it is okay if it becomes a process. Becoming a new parent or having a new baby can be hard.
We should still work to develop that bond of love and trust with our babies as soon as possible, though. It can't be forced. We may have to be patient, but we should not give up. It also doesn't mean that we aren't good mothers or that our baby doesn't like us. There are many reasons why bonding can be difficult for some parents, but it is important to work the process.
How do you know when you have successfully bonded with your little one? Check out these 15 ways that babies show their love and seven that show you still have some work to do.
22 A Case Of The Giggles
When do we giggle? That's right! True giggling only happens when we are with our best friends, so what does it mean when our babies giggle so happily when they are around us? Those adorable and happy giggles are a sign that your little bundle of joy considers you to be her joy.
Being able to make a baby laugh is probably one of the most exciting things. It's not that they understand our jokes but that they have a sense of fun and wonder about it all. If your baby giggles around you or after something you have said or done, then that is something to be excited about.
21 With Mouth Open Wide
Your baby knows you by the way you smell (and this is a good thing). According to research, chemical components like natural body fragrance and pheromones play an important role in mother-infant recognition.
Your baby recognizes your particular scent, and they will open their mouths to breathe in that fragrance more deeply.
Your baby does not care if you are having a bad hair day or that you look a bit messy. All he cares is that mommy is nearby, and his sense of smell tells him that she is close. Now he can relax and be happy. If baby seems to want to breathe you in, then that is a good that you have successfully bonded with your child.
20 Getting The Go-Ahead
Does your baby look at you before doing something that she wants to do? Babies who want to verify with their parents that they are safe to do something are showing attachment and love toward that parent, and especially a level of trust that is heartwarming.
Your baby wants to have your approval before she does something, like crawl up the stairs or over to her favorite toy in the middle of the living room. Basically, the baby is non-verbally asking, "Is this okay? Will I be safe? Will you rescue me if something goes wrong?"
19 The Happiness Cuddle
If your baby sighs and settles in closer within your arms, then she is showing that she fully trusts you. No one else can comfort her the way that you can. The happiness cuddle is probably the best indication that your baby is totally in love with you.
Think about how we will snuggle into our partners because we love and trust them and want to be near them.
Our babies feel the same way about us if we have successfully bonded with them, and it is probably one of the sweetest things we can ever experience.
18 A Head-Turning Bond
When I was in grade school, I would always turn my head in the direction of my mom's voice when I heard her in the hallways. Babies will do the same thing whenever they hear their mother's voice. If your baby is turning his head toward you, then that is a sign of love.
Your baby recognizes the sound of your voice, maybe even the sound of your walk, and will turn toward those sounds because the baby knows that mommy is near. Being able to recognize you in such a way is a sign that you have successfully bonded with your baby!
17 All Lit Up
Our eyes light up when we see that one familiar face at parties. We also light up when we see people we love. That level of excitement that your baby exhibits when seeing you enter a room or hearing your voice around a corner is proof that your baby loves you. Your baby is happy to see you again!
Babies are unable to fake their emotions, so you know that what they are showing on their face is the real deal.
A baby who is happy to see mommy will perk up and be excited that mommy has returned. The eyes show it all, and it is something to celebrate.
16 Deep Into Our Eyes
When we love someone, we tend to look deep into their eyes. Does your baby exchange long glances with you? It must be love!
Your baby wants to memorize your face because he loves looking at you. Staring into another's eyes is one of the ways that we show that we are attached to them.
And if baby enjoys looking at your face, that is a total win in the bonding department! Look back at your baby, touch his face, his hands, and tell him how much you love being around him, too. The bond between mother and child can grow stronger.
15 What A Talker
Babies might not know how to talk just yet, but they will try communicating with their mommies with cooing and babbling. Maybe she is telling you a story about her day; just go along with it. The fact that your baby wants to talk to you is a sure sign that she is in love with you, too.
What should you do if the baby wants to have a cooing conversation? Talk back with her, and not just in "baby talk."
She will learn how to talk from you talking with her, so associate certain words so that she can learn them. For example, you are "Mom" and this is a "hug."
14 This Particular Cry
As strange as this may sound, separation anxiety is another sign that your baby loves you. You are the only adult that the baby has come to trust, and you are the most familiar to him or her. So, when you begin dropping off the baby to be cared for at grandma's house or the daycare, your bubbly sweetness turns into a bundle of wails.
Pediatric Web says that in "order for children to become anxious about separation, they must first establish a significant attachment with their parent."
We want them to learn that you will be coming back for them and that they do have to learn how to be on their own (just a little), but separation anxiety is a sign that your baby is very much bonded to you.
13 A Heartwarming Smile
According to WebMD, baby's first social smile occurs around month two and week one of baby's life. Getting those smiles from your baby is one of the most wonderful things in the world. It might be gas the first time, but maybe not all of the other times.
Does your baby smile when she sees you? Does your voice and smile get a smile back from the baby? Social smiles are an important part of baby's development, and it is a great sign that you have bonded with your baby if she smiles for you!
12 Reach Out For Mommy
Does your baby reach out his or her arms toward you? If baby wants to be held by you all of the time, then that is a really good sign that the baby is in love with you!
According to What To Expect, babies begin reaching for things that they want around five months old. So, what does it mean when they are reaching for their mommy? It means that mommy is someone that they want to be around.
The fact that your baby reaches for you is another sign that she likes to be around you and wants to be in your presence. Babies won't reach for people who do not appeal to them. Pick up your baby or hold a little hand when he or she reaches out those little arms for you.
11 All For Those Random Snuggles
As your baby gets older, she will begin playing by herself. But she still wants to be around you. That means that your little cherub will sometimes stop mid-play to crawl over for some much-appreciated snuggles from her momma.
Being cuddled by momma is one of the best things for a baby who has successfully bonded with the mother. Cuddles are reassuring that someone is always there for them and that they have someone who is on their side and wants to protect them.
10 Baby See, Baby Do
Babies are learning so much about the world around them. But whom does your baby try to copy the most? You! Your baby sees you as someone who is trustworthy and wants to emulate you. The old cliche is that imitation is the best form of flattery, and in this case, it certainly is that!
Copying off of mommy is how baby learns to navigate in the world. It is also a sign that the baby thinks that mommy is someone worth copying!
Your baby will mimic some of your movements. In some cases, it could even turn into a fun game, like making silly faces, followed by those delightful baby giggles.
9 Baby's Shining Armor
Does your baby bury her face into your shoulder when a strange person comes around? That means that she sees you as her safety. Your baby trusts and loves you very much and looks to you for protection. Babies are still learning about the world and everyone is a stranger to them.
Until they learn how to discern for themselves whether someone is safe or not, the baby will rely on you to protect them from everything. You have become their shining armor, a mom shield. And the fact that baby considers you to be their protector is a good sign that the baby loves you back!
8 Sweet Little Expressions
Babies learn how to show affection from the way that their parents express it to them.
Hugs and pecks on the cheek and forehead become a signal to baby that you love him, so the baby begins to mimic those signs of affection to express mutual love.
An older baby might try to give you kisses or will ask for hugs. Now that the baby knows how to show signs of affection, your baby will begin to express his feelings for you in the sweetest ways. Be happy for those sloppy, wet kisses on your cheek or forehead! The baby loves you back.
And here are 7 unlikely signs that the relationship might be rocky...
7 Preferential Treatment
There are subtle signs that the relationship with your baby could be rocky. For example, if the baby seems to prefer everyone else except mom. Try not to fret if this happens because there could be many reasons, and bonding takes time. This means that the baby has potentially bonded with the other caregivers first.
Bonding with mom might take more time and patience. If you have to work a lot, make sure to get in extra time with baby when you are home and on the weekends so that the baby can bond with you as well. The baby has to get to know you all over again.
6 The Crying Machine
One mom posted on the What To Expect forum that her baby would cry whenever she held her but stop crying when her mother-in-law held her. She was worried that her baby did not like her. When this happens, it can be heartbreaking for the mom to experience. The good news is that it is unlikely that your baby wants nothing to do with you.
The baby could just be picking up on your inner emotions. Babies can sense uncertainty and fear.
There can also be physical reasons why the baby cries, like the perfume you are wearing or a medical reason like colic, in which case the baby should be examined by a pediatrician.
5 The Not-So-Good RAD
Sometimes new moms are afraid to touch their babies or handle them in any way. This could be the result of postpartum depression and other factors related to mental health state. Unfortunately, it can have a negative effect on the baby.
The baby can develop Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). What is this? Well, according to Mayo Clinic, RAD develops when the baby does not form meaningful attachments with parents and caregivers. It is also a serious condition. Parents who are struggling to bond with their babies should consult their pediatrician before it reaches this stage.
4 Irritated To No End
Does the baby seem constantly irritated?
It might not be a sign that your baby does not like you but actually a sign that something else is wrong, like an allergic reaction. If your baby seems overly cranky all of the time, it might be time for a checkup.
Babies can't tell you what is wrong, and they might not even be able to pinpoint what is causing them distress. So, the only thing that they know how to do is be cranky and cry. An irritated baby will show that irritation, so it is mommy and daddy's job to find out why the baby is so irritated and make things better.
3 The "Yikes" Face
Sometimes babies and moms have trouble bonding with each other, but it does cause some worry when the baby actually seems frightened of mom or dad. This could be a sign that something is not right about the relationship or the environment. Time to investigate and see if there needs to be a change.
According to Romper, it could also just be a phase that your baby is going through and that you should not take it personally. Look for why the baby could be afraid. It could be something as small as the clowns in the nursery or as big as the fact that mom and dad argue in front of the baby.
2 Withholding All Those Smiles
Does it seem as if the baby is giving smiles to everyone but you? One mom posted about this question on the Baby Center forum. "She looks at her daddy and just grins from ear to ear, which I'm thankful for, but I just wish she would do the same for me," she wrote. Her baby wasn't smiling at her, and it was making her worried.
Other people posted that the same thing had happened to them and that it may be because the baby is used to mom's face but gets excited to see other faces in her life.
Give it time. The more we worry about things like this, the more our babies can pick up on it and we end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy.
1 Trouble With Nursing
For some reason, the baby refuses to nurse. Mom may try her hardest to get the baby to latch on, but her baby seems to be rejecting her. This is more common than we realize.
According to Mayo Clinic, some of the reasons a baby might go on a "nursing strike" include pain, illness, stress, unusual scent or taste in the breast milk or a reduced milk supply.
Something is just not right about the situation in the baby's mind. So, now it is mom's time to find out what could be causing the problem. The best thing to do is to consult with a doctor to see what the cause behind the nursing strike could be.