Bonding with Your Newborn Baby

7 min read

Last Modified 28 July 2023 First Added 28 July 2023

Welcoming a newborn baby into the world is the most beautiful event a family can experience. It will completely change your world, fill your life with joy, create memories to last a lifetime and it will bring some challenging moments.

There are essential steps to take from the beginning of this wonderful experience that can build solid foundations for your baby to grow into a happy and emotionally healthy child.

Bonding will play a key role in this journey. Bonding with your newborn baby should feel like a deeply exciting experience, however we understand that some may be more nervous than others. But with our five top tips, you will be building a beautiful relationship from the day your little one arrives, and you’ll be paving the way for a happy and stable childhood.

The Importance of Bonding

Bonding is a vital part of your baby’s emotional and physical development. But you might be wondering why is it so important and how can you make sure you are setting your child up for success?

When your baby receives a smile, sense of touch or a cuddle, they feel the world is a safe place to play, learn and explore.

This lays the foundation for development and a healthy well-being throughout childhood. Bonding comes in different ways such as physical touch, cuddles, talking or simply gazing into your baby’s eyes.

All these will provide reassurance for your little one and will make them feel safe and loved.

These actions also contribute to your baby’s mental growth as all these emotions and actions will release hormones that are crucial for brain development.

Bonding will also play a big part in developing your child’s social skills.

Different Ways to Bond

Bonding through your voice

Your baby will recognise voices from an early age. Your child will feel most safe when hearing their parents voice at first as this is the voice they have grown to listen to.

When your baby is growing inside your womb, your voice will be a frequency they would have adapted to, a soothing and reassuring sound. This is why it is important to carry on being vocal once your baby is born, use your voice to make your baby feel safe: sing, talk, coo, laugh, anything that will make your little one hear your voice can aid their development.

Your baby may not understand the words for a while, but they will recognise the frequency in your voice and the soothing tone. It will also pave the way for developing their language skills in the future.

A pregnant woman has her belly rubbed by her partner.

Bonding through body movements

If there is one thing that babies love most, that will be to be carried and being held in their favourite grown-ups’ arms.

Much like your voice, your baby will feel reassured when you carry them, walk them around or bounce them. These will provide a deep sense of support and calmness for your little one.

Your baby will also very much enjoy being sat in a baby bouncer. They are cosy and have an enveloping shape that will certainly make your baby feel safe and allow them to drift off to sleep or enjoy a bounce while you tick off the tasks on your to-do list.

Bonding through touch and smell

From the day of birth, your baby will be able to recognise they parent’s smell. That is why skin-on-skin touch is usually introduced soon after birth so your baby can familiarise quickly with mum’s scent, and this will allow your baby to feel reassured and safe.

When holding your little one in your arms, gently stroke their delicate heads, or smoothly rub your fingers against their rosy cheeks, feel free to also do this during bath time or even nappy changes.

A soft stroke can make your little one feel like they are in the safest place in the world, bringing them ease and comfort in this new life. You can also use a sling or a baby carrier for when you are going out or even around your home, for example during cooking or folding the laundry so your baby does not feel left out.

Bonding through activities

Initiating sensory play with your baby will make a difference to your bonding experience.

Play with your baby, show your little one what is around. There is a variety of toys and playmats for your baby to be entertained and to aid their development in those early stages. Play with your baby, talk, laugh, show interest, all these small gestures will help your bonding journey.

A newborn baby is sat in a donut cushion experiencing sensory play.

Challenges Are Inevitable

In certain cases, bonding might not come naturally or straight away after your baby’s arrival.

Many parents expect to bond immediately but that might not be the case, and this is perfectly normal. If you are birthing your child, you may experience post-natal depression and some parents struggle to balance it all in these moments, please know that this is something normal and many have experienced it.

The arrival of a new baby will change your routine, your habits, and your body, therefore adjusting can sometimes take time and bonding with your little one might take some time also.

Many factors can make the reality a little different compared to what you imagined, such as the following:


Focusing on trying to bond with your baby at all costs might cause too much stress for you and your baby, this would have a negative impact on your bonding attempt.

Postpartum depression

It is a common condition that will affect 1 out of 10 women. After giving birth, most women will go through what is called “the baby blues.”

The baby blues is a period where many women feel a bit down, tearful, or anxious in the first week or few weeks after giving birth. However, it should not last more than 2 weeks after the birth. If the symptoms are still present or worsen, it is important to seek medical assistance.

The NHS has great advice and key things to look for in relation to Postnatal Depression.

One of the signs of postpartum/postnatal depression is finding it difficult to look after yourself and therefore your baby, resulting in bonding being on a hold until you are back to your usual self.

It is essential to seek medical help if you are struggling as there are several forms of support that can be offered to you. It is also important to note that postpartum depression can be activated in both parents, not just the parent birthing the child.

Two parents sat on either side of the bed experiencing post natal depression.

NICU stay or medical issues

If your baby has had to stay in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), this could compromise your bonding.

For example, if your baby was born premature, they will have to spend some time in an incubator and therefore, your bonding experience might be a bit trickier or take more time, however, there will always be an opportunity to heal this bond.

Your own childhood issues

These can also affect bonding with your baby. You might not feel ready or might not feel like you can bond for example due to your own Adverse Childhood Experience.

Comparing yourself to other parents

Every parenting style is different and so is every child. Comparing yourself to other parents that you believe seem perfect could also affect your bonding experience with your baby.

Remember no matter how perfect everything looks on the outside, no one will understand another parent’s struggles behind closed doors. So, just focus on doing your best and that is all your bundle of joy can ask for.

In Summary

These challenges you might face do not mean that you will not be able to bond with your baby. Bonding takes time and effort, sometimes more for certain parents than others, but you will get there in the end!

Creating a bond with your baby can require patience and kindness in those early days. However, once those bonding foundations are created, you and your baby will enjoy every moment of this new adventure.

Enjoy those precious early years, most parent’s want those years to last forever!

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