ATTACHMENT & BONDING
Attachment and Bonding
The relationship your baby has with you and other care givers is really important how we meet their needs and care for them shapes how their brains develop. This is both true before they are born and after they arrive. Attachment and Bonding are terms that are regularly used by many professionals and practitioners including us at Dad Matters, this is due to how important it is for parent-infant relationships, yet not everyone knows what it is or why it is so important.
Attachment has helped to understand the importance of relationships and the need for children to have a secure base. When a child feels safe and secure they learn to manage their feelings and develop healthy relationships in the future. As such a baby which has a secure attachment will develop a sense of trust in relation to others.
Bonding describes the feelings of attachment and love from parent to baby. Some parents feel this connection very quickly and it may start to develop during pregnancy. However, fathers can sometimes find that the process of bonding takes time and can feel more challenging than for mums, which is entirely natural and normal.
The bond between a parent and baby often comes through lots of playing communicating and interacting with your baby. Although as a dad you are not physically carrying the baby, the beginnings of a bonding relationship can begin through the pregnancy and will continue to grow when baby arrives.
Before baby arrives
- Talk, sing and read to your baby
- Massage and touch
- Knock, knock, who’s there
- Hopes and dreams
- Talk to your partner
- Keep a diary
This imagining helps you as a parent to develop that relationship with your baby before they are born.
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Once baby is here
- Touch and skin to skin
- Talk, smile and sing
- Read to your baby
- Watch and wonder
- Baby Massage
- Help out with everyday needs
Your baby is born ready to interact and form relationships with you as their parent. They are able to recognise your voice and can be soothed by your touch and being held. The bonding you have done before your baby arrives will enable your relationship with each other to just get bigger and stronger.
As you watch and wonder about your new baby you will begin to become familiar with what your baby is like, and understanding baby states will help this further. Your baby will transition between these states throughout the day and having an understanding of them will enable you to know what they might need
There are lots of useful videos on the Association of Infant Mental Health Wesbite – click the logo
- Deep sleep
- Light sleep
- Active alert
For more information regarding the baby states especially if you have any concerns or questions about crying please get in touch or the following websites have lots of help and support
When your baby is crying there are a few techniques you can try to enable your baby to settle, known as consoling
- Let your baby know you’re there – use your face to establish contact
- Talk gently and supportive to your baby
- Let your baby focus on your face
- Hand on tummy
- Pick them up
- Wrap baby (hands free)
For more information and support, and if you need any further help or guidance with this please get in touch or contact your Health Visitor.
If you are expecting, or have a baby under 12 weeks, please book onto one of our New Dad Workshops for more support and information…