Baby Guide, Life with Baby

Bond between mother and child psychology

Building the Parent-to-Child Relationship – Bonding is the emotional bond between the parent and their child that is ideally made immediately after birth and lasts a lifetime. 

Bonding shapes

May you be so exhausted after giving birth – as soon as you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, it usually triggers something on both sides. You feel each other; you smell the baby skin, it hears your heartbeat and your voice. The vulnerable little creature wants to be cared for and needs a caregiver in the unknown world.

By building the close relationship with his mother, the baby learns to take confidence. In the following months of life, it is confronted with numerous new impressions. Early bonding helps him deal with all the unfamiliar situations.

With the mother, assuming undisturbed development, it triggers a protector instinct. She also draws the power of being there for her baby day and night, taking care of her, protecting her from harm. A close emotional bond lasts a lifetime, even when the child is already grown up.

The effect on the baby has been studied in numerous studies, including 1981 at the University of Regensburg. The study found that babies who were with their mother in the first 45 minutes after birth looked for more eye contact than others during the following months. Psychologists interpreted this as a sign of closer ties.

But it is not just the attachment that shapes the baby, but also the way the parents deal with it. Even it is helpless and has few opportunities to express itself. Depending on how the parents react, it also learns to deal with different situations.

Experiencing empathy and understanding strengthens not only the trust in the parents but also in the later life. Self-confidence benefits from this.

But you do not have to worry if you hold your baby in your arms after giving birth and are not immediately overwhelmed by feelings of happiness. Bonding is a process.

After birth

Pregnancy and childbirth are not only emotional moments for the mother; hormonal processes accompany both. Hormone release causes bodily processes that make breastfeeding possible, for example. Likewise, they affect the psyche, which is why mother and child react very sensitively to one another directly after birth. The emergence of an intense bond is thereby promoted.

Bonding as a process

After birth is certainly the best time to make emotional bonds. Nevertheless, there is no fixed date for the bonding. Every time you hold your baby in your arms, spend time together, your bond will be strengthened.

Touch plays a special role. They experience each other with the senses. Your baby will feel you intensely, absorb your scent, feel safe in your area.

This intimacy is not reserved only for the mother. The first year of life, when the baby is still particularly helpless, is also for fathers the ideal opportunity to cuddle with the offspring or to take over the changing and bathing.

Over time, fathers can learn to understand their child as intuitively as the mother. The empathy of both parents, eye contact, and every physical touch strengthens the bond between them and vice versa.

The first year of life

The moment after birth is a special imprinting phase for the baby. Some baby-friendly hospitals, therefore, ensure that mother and baby can be together as soon as possible. Pay attention to many caring midwives.

For a long time, the opinion prevailed that the birthing process itself was decisive for the future commitment. But neither the birth itself nor the immediate contact afterward is ultimately decisive for the intensity of the bond, as a Swedish study by the researcher Carl Hwang in 1987 revealed.

The study included babies born under general anesthesia by cesarean section, premature births requiring immediate care, and those who had been born normal and had direct contact with their mothers.

Developmental differences were noted only in the first months of life. Meanwhile, while parents were taking care of your baby, they did not exist anymore. Binding on both sides was as intense as normal birth and immediate contact.

Take time for your baby

It follows that you should spend a lot of time with your offspring. This applies to mothers and fathers alike. Use calm hours without distraction for intense cuddling and cuddling, make bathing, for example, a tender experience. When your baby plays with blaster toys and other kind of toys, be careful about their safety. 

Naturally, mothers have a clear advantage: they have carried their baby in their womb for nine months, after which they may be breastfed. Both are familiar. The prerequisites for a strong emotional bond are completely different for fathers.

The beginning of a relationship can already be established during pregnancy – during this time; the contact is made via the mother. Of course, the unborn is also able to perceive the voice of the father, after birth, he is then no longer a stranger.

After birth, the father has ample opportunity to intensify the bond with his child. This, in turn, benefits both parents, because the mother is relieved and her trust in the father grows. Sensitive babies feel that they learn to gain more confidence.

CONCLUSION

  • Baby looks for security right after birth
  • Close contact with the mother makes her feel secure
  • it gains confidence
  • intensive contact with both parents is important
  • Touches promote bonding

TIPS FROM MIDWIFE INA ELMER

  • Bonding is supported, if possible, at all stages of birth. Even with cesarean section, many clinics are set to make the bonding in the operating room possible.
  • Bonding is supported, if possible, at all stages of birth. Even with cesarean section, many clinics are set to make the bonding in the operating room possible.
  • Talk to your midwife about it – for your baby the perfect start in life!

TIPS FROM CHILD THERAPIST NICOLE ULRICH

  • Find out how your hospital handles bonding
  • Be self-determined and insist on keeping your child for a short time
  • Discuss with your partner what is important to you. It may be reassuring for you to look after the child in the first few minutes

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