The best way to bond with your baby is through breastfeeding, but if you are unable to breastfeed, or need to do both breast and bottle, you are certainly at an advantage with bottle feeding. It could be in the form of baby formula or breast milk pumped by a breast pump and bottled fed. There are many chances to cuddle, get closer and study your newborn’s movements by bottle feeding. Responding to babies need quickly bonds babies faster to parents. Hungry and crying babies learn to trust their parent easily when they see you appearing with a bottle to feed them. Although you don’t have to feed on demand throughout, during the early days when you’re just getting to know each other, adjusting and responding to what they need is a big part of binding that connection.
Breastfed babies like the contact of skin while on the breast, but they could still be fed skin to skin while being bottle fed. The baby could be cradled in your arms and snuggled next to your chest, head elevated on your arm while lying down. Wear a front open shirt and unbutton it a bit while feeding. It has been researched that skin contact increases oxytocin levels which play a big role in parent and baby bonding. It has also been researched that babies fed with skin contact cry less than blanket wrapped babies.
Maintaining eye contact while bottle feeding is very important. Looking into each other’s eyes has also been proven to get the oxytocin flowing in both of you. Feel and touch them imitating the breastfeeding feeling. Keep your face within 8 to 10 inches away from baby to make sure the newborn sees you. Coo, chat and sing to baby while she drinks whenever you can. The sound of your voice will make the feeding session more special. Smiling and talking to them while feeding is also a way of bonding between parents and babies.
In reality, within a short time, your little baby will not need you to hold the bottle, therefore, take advantage of every precious moment to make bottle feeding time a bonding experience for both of you. Stay focused on the feeding aspect and don’t distract yourself multi-tasking, especially gazing into a phone or tab. Give 100% concentration to your baby until the bottle is empty.
Propping the bottle
Feeding a baby with the bottle propped up is not a good idea. Many busy parents prop their older baby up with a bottle while they tackle some other work. Besides depriving baby and you of quality snuggle time, propping raises dangers of ear infections, choking and probable tooth decay if the teeth have popped out. The best option is to devote the time taken to feed baby exclusively for him, to continue bonding with each other for many more months to come.
Sometimes new mothers may encounter issues bonding with their baby due to depression or anxiety. Such new mothers do not enjoy the experience of motherhood and feel it as a burden and a string of chores to go through every day.
It is very important to see your GP or healthcare professional if you feel depressed, anxious, sad or worried about bonding with your baby.