Bonding With Your Baby

You'll never forget the first time you and your baby locked eyes, connecting for the first time. But bonding is actually a lifelong process of building a relationship, not a single magical moment. It begins during pregnancy, and is strengthened after birth. 

Even before your baby is born, he knows who you are. Research shows that by the seventh and eighth month, a fetus's heart rate slows down slightly whenever his mother is speaking, indicating that mom's voice has a calming effect. Studies also show that when newborns are offered two nipples that trigger two different voices when sucked, they'll almost always choose the one that triggers their mother's voice. 

The initial closeness that a mother and baby have just after birth produces physiological responses that enhance bonding. For the mother, breastfeeding releases maternal hormones, such as oxytocin, which fosters relaxation and nurturing feelings. The baby is comforted by the warmth of his mother's body and by the sound of her voice. 

Experts agree that bonding with your baby is essential to the baby's emotional and cognitive growth. Self-esteem is formed in the first year of life. Letting your baby know that he is the center of your world gives him a sense of security, confidence and self-esteem. Imagine how incredible it would be if everyone gave you their undivided attention, as if you were the most important person in the world. That's how an infant's life should be.