Bonding between caregiver and baby/child is so important for both parties’ emotional and physical wellbeing. The feeling of being protected and nurtured fosters feelings of security for the baby, which can help you have a more content baby (less fuss, less upset and hopefully more sleep).
What is bonding – how do I get to know my baby?
Bonding is the process of forming the emotional connection between yourself as a parent and your baby. An important thing to remember with bonding is that it's a process – building a relationship takes time. Parents don’t always feel a great rush of love and bonding straight away. Bonding takes time
Many parents experience other feelings like fear alongside love, especially if it’s a first baby. Parents should not put too much pressure on themselves. Each child and relationship is different. The important thing is to relax and watch a nurturing relationship develop at your pace.
What is Attachment?
The way your baby builds close relationships is called attachment. It lays the foundations for them to feel safe and secure.
Bonding in the womb:
Your baby can hear you in the womb from at least 16 weeks, and sometimes even earlier.
There are many things that can help you and your baby to start forming an attachment before birth. Talk and sing to your baby, knowing he or she can hear you. Gently touch and rub your belly, or massage it. Gently respond to your baby's kicks (this is fun and cute!).
Babies hear their mother’s voices most clearly, but anyone can talk and sing to them – your baby will love to hear from anyone. This helps your baby recognise familiar voices when they are born, which will help them feel safe and secure and is also great for their development.
Not sure how to sing or talk to your baby in the womb?
Find a quiet time when you and your baby can focus on each other and use a tuneful, sing-song voice.
It doesn't matter what music or song – if you like it, so will your baby. Never put headphones on mum’s tummy though, as it’s too loud for your baby.
If you feel a bit silly talking to the bump, don’t worry – lots of people do. If you can’t think of anything to say, just chat about the day or share a story.
Bonding after birth:
Some parents feel an intense attachment within the first minutes or days after their baby's birth. For others, it may take a bit longer. It's completely normal if it takes a few days, a few weeks or several months to feel that special bond. There may never be one 'wham bam!' moment, instead you’ll likely experience a gradual growing of love. It's important not to feel under pressure to bond or feel a failure as a mum if you haven't bonded.
Bonding is a process, not something that takes place within minutes and not something that has to be limited to happening within a certain time period after birth. Bonding is often helped when the baby recognises the mothers voice from when they were in the womb.
What are the benefits of bonding?
Infancy is a crucial time for brain development. It is vital that babies and their parents are supported during this time to promote attachment. The evidence on the powerful role of loving nurture in the emotional, social and cognitive development of children is powerful. Without a good initial bond, children are less likely to grow up to become happy, independent and resilient adults. A strong bond really does set the stage for the growing child to enter healthy relationships with other people throughout their life and to appropriately experience and express a full range of emotions.
Contrary to the ‘wisdom’ told to past generations, responding quickly to crying will not ‘spoil’ a baby. Instead, babies who are held/ comforted when they need it during the first six months of life tend to be more secure and confident as toddlers and older children.
How can Jaspar help?
Jaspar is the UK’s first bonding and attachment companion. Jaspar helps parents bond with their infant by allowing them to record their own voice, and can be used before and after birth. Jaspar allows the caregiver to record their own voice, singing, talking , humming and sushing which can help the bonding process and thus increase the feeling of security for the baby. Siblings can be involved and record their own voice too, meaning the whole family can create special memories and bonds together!
The voice recording function can also help toddlers and older children when spending time away from their parents. The familiarity of parents’ voice and messages can really help minimise separation anxiety. Jaspar will quickly become a member of the bonded family and a secure and steady companion for the child!
Say hello to Jaspar, and say hello to a deeper sleep and a deeper bond.