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If you’re experiencing mother baby bonding problems, I have good news for you.
This is completely normal! That’s right. According to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Dove Pressnall, Hollywood is very misleading. (Well, duh.)
But you know that classic scene I’m talking about? When the main character gives birth and they put the baby in her arms? Then the clouds part and she sees rainbows because she is so overcome with love.
And she has an instant connection and unbreakable bond with her baby? Yeah, that’s not always the case. Now slip into your fuzzy slippers and get comfy, mama. I’m going to tell you all about why that is and what to do about it.
Because I, for one, did not experience it an immediate bond. In fact, I was actually worried there was something wrong with me.
I turned to my husband minutes after they put our son in my arms and said oh my god I didn’t bond with our baby! And he said, Brenna, you’re fine. You’ve been a mom for 5 minutes.
So, what age do babies get attached to mom?
If you’re experiencing mother baby bonding problems, you definitely aren’t alone.
Dove says the research indicates that the average time it takes a mother to experience that “falling in love” feeling for her baby is nine whole weeks. WebMD agrees, citing that it can take weeks or months.
By the way, those women who do feel that immediate connection after birth are feeling the oxytocin love hormone from delivery. This is also a normal occurrence.
Instead of stressing about the timing, know that this is something that grows with time. Little by little, day by day.
Why do some mothers not bond with their babies immediately?
According to Dove and other mental health professionals, there are a few factors at play here.
Stress, lack of sleep, and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can all interfere with the speed of the bonding process.
Of course, this can cause a bit of a negative loop as well. Because there can be a lot of big feelings surrounding that lack of connection. And that feeling can contribute to your stress as well.
How can I improve my baby’s bonding? Here are 5 helpful tips.
I’m glad you asked, mama. Because there ARE things you can do to actively bond with each other and clear up those mother baby bonding problems.
Here’s a quick list of expert-recommended things I did that totally solidified our bond.
1. Make time for daily skin-to-skin contact. To do this properly, yes, you should actually have your skin be in contact with your baby’s.
So cuddle up with them chest to chest. Make sure your bra is off, or your nursing tank is snapped down, and baby is in their diaper.
I recommend getting snuggled in together in a comfy robe if you don’t like feeling totally exposed doing this. But that’s just personal preference.
Skin-to-skin contact will absolutely help with bonding, but there are numerous other benefits to it as well including increased milk production if you choose to breastfeed.
2. Make eye contact when speaking to baby and spending time with them. This study concluded that eye contact helps baby and their caregiver’s brain waves actually synch up.
What does that sound like to you? Better understanding, communication, and you guessed it, bonding!
3. Respond appropriately to their cries and meet their needs. Ok that might sound obvious, but did you know you can’t spoil a baby?
Experts say infants are unable to manipulate adults. Meaning, if they cry it’s because of a basic human need: they’re hungry, lonely, tired, etc. So if anyone tells you to let an infant cry it out, feel free to, and please do, ignore them. That’s outdated advice.
When babies have their needs met in a timely manner, they develop secure attachment and learn they can trust you (and the other caregivers in their life.)
4. Try babywearing on for size. This is a similar concept to skin to skin contact. It’s all about being close to each other. This is also a really great productivity hack for new mamas if you want to get things done while baby naps or hangs out.
There are many different variations of baby wraps, slings, and carriers. So you’ll want to shop around for your preferred style.
A wrap is the closest substitute to skin to skin, since the material is so thin and baby is really nestled in. Here’s a great baby wrap with over 13,000 reviews at 4.5 stars.
However, I always found wraps to be tricky to put on by myself and my son never preferred them. So my personal favorite style for baby wearing is this best-selling baby carrier with over 25,000 reviews at 4.6 stars. Daaaaaang!
Might even be worth grabbing one of each style and seeing which is best for your needs. Just sayin’ Amazon vendors usually have a great return policy.
By the way, babies love napping in baby carriers. The movement comforts them as though they were still in the womb.
5. My last tip is to just love on that little one! Play, sing, laugh, cuddle. Enjoy one another. The more you have fun with mothering, and the more your confidence grows, the more you’ll feel that connection grow, too.
Say goodbye to those mother baby bonding problems.
After all this, you and your little one are going to be thick as thieves. Trust me, coming from the person who was upset that she didn’t bond with her baby immediately. Now, I look at my son and think becoming a mom is the best thing I have ever done.
And the fact that he’s going through his separation anxiety phase where he constantly wants to be held by me and never wants to be out of my sight tells me he must feel just as strongly toward me as I do to him.
When did all that start to change for me? I didn’t really notice anything different at first, but that’s because I was too wrapped up in my own postpartum issues at the time.
I think it took about six weeks until I really became more confident in my mothering abilities. Then I could really focus on building our connection further. And it was a slow grow from there.
So if we could pull this off after a bit of a rocky start with bonding problems, I promise, you can, too.
Let me know in the comments if you try any of these tips or if you have any others to share.
Wait, one more thing!
While you’re here, feel free to check out my little self care gift shop if you want to treat yourself or pamper a friend with something special today. You deserve it, mama. Your purchases keep this blog running, support mama-owned businesses, and mean more than you will ever know.
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