What’s the #1 thing you should focus on with your baby?
It’s not your routine, or how long your baby naps, or which bottle to use, or the books you read, or the music you play, or the sling you use, or how you put your baby to sleep.
Science shows us that it’s your RELATIONSHIP with your baby
The biggest factor influencing your baby’s cognitive, social and emotional development is the nature of their relationship with YOU.
So let’s stop frantically googling looking for answers to all kinds of technical questions that don’t have one right answer anyway and spend more time on what’s actually important.
Today I want to give you very specific ways to start thinking about attachment with your newborn.
Don’t have a newborn? Have no fear. I’ll be sending out part 2 soon.
What your 0-2 month old needs:
At this age what your baby needs most of all is TOUCH. The first two months are all about your baby’s body adjusting to the outside world. They’re learning how to digest food, poop, sleep, and just BE comfortably.
With that in mind, here’s how to increase your attachment at this stage:
1. Lots of cuddly touch from you
This is the biggest one. They just need you to hold them, cuddle them, wear them in the sling, let them sleep on your chest, give them skin on skin closeness.
2. Parental cooing and singing
There is a large body of research showing that babies in the NICU benefit greatly from music and singing. Singing lowers babies’ cortisol, regulates heart rate, and connects them to their surroundings. Sing to your baby. Use your soft whispery voice. Make it intimate. They’re listening.
3. Your loving gaze
You’re doing this anyway but I’ll mention it. When they do open their eyes they want to see YOU. The distance infants can see when they are newborns is from their mother’s nipple to her face. They want to see your eyes. Humans are social beings wired to be drawn to faces. Especially YOUR face.
4. Relaxed feedings
This one needs to be mentioned because often we aren’t relaxed. I know I wasn’t. Nursing was a disaster for me with my first. I was in excruciating pain and everything that could go wrong did. But research shows that what matters is not whether we are breastfeeding or not. Its whether we are ENJOYING the breastfeeding and are relaxed while doing it. That’s when the bonding happens. So try to relax. And if it isn’t relaxing consider finding a feeding system that will be even if it means giving up on your initial fantasy.
Forget the shoulds.
Please learn from my mistakes. I was one of those alpha mamas with my first. I got caught up in buying the right book, having the right schedule, using the right soap, feeding the right way.
During these months what matters most is your loving physical presence. Allow yourself to lie on the couch with your baby resting on your chest in froggy pose (my favorite). Listen to their breath, smell their head, and doze off with them.
I only truly allowed myself to throw away the shoulds and fully surrender to the physicality of these first months with my third. Here’s your permission not to wait that long.
The most important part:
Research shows us that in order for us to fully connect with our babies we need to be emotionally available to do so. What does that mean?
Take care of yourself. If you birthed your baby, your body just went through a trauma. But even if not, your body is adjusting to the changes of caring for a newborn as well.
Be compassionate with yourself. Let yourself nap as much as possible. Don’t expect to get anything done. Order in. Go on slow walks with your baby in the carrier.
Use each other as a gauge for what you need. At this stage you and your baby are physically linked. I remember experiencing this in an extreme way – when my baby pooped I felt I had to as well.
Use that to your benefit. Are you feeling overstimulated in a room or outside? You baby probably is too. Is your baby fussy and tired? You may be too.
Imagine yourself like a newborn. In many ways you are.
A new parent has just been born 🙂
How has your experience been with your newborn? Do you spend most of your days going back and forth between feeling their sleepy breath on your chest and working hard to help them adjust physically to the world? COMMENT below and let me know!
Do you have a friend who just had a baby who needs to hear this? Send it over to them and save them from pointless frantic googling on the best book to read their newborn.
Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!