Parental Blues

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Harvard Medical School

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Parental Blues

Breastfeeding
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Will Baby Bond With You?
Parental Blues
Parental Blues
htmJHEPediatricsBondBlues
A newborn naturally bonds with parents as she develops, although it's not always obvious.
7566
InteliHealth
2010-10-18
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InteliHealth Medical Content
2012-05-08

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Will Baby Bond With You?

No problem there. A newborn naturally bonds with parents as she develops, although it's not always obvious. That's because your newborn's nervous system isn't fully developed, and she can't yet show her interest. But don't feel that you are doing anything wrong. It isn't until after a few weeks that you'll begin to see the effect you have on your child. At about 6 months, your baby will really start to show affection toward you. In the meantime, if you don't feel truly "connected" with your child, here are some suggestions:

For Mom

Face the situation, as often as possible. If you're feeling the postdelivery blues, don't reach for those Muddy Waters records just yet. It may take a few weeks, but you can help feel connected with your baby by getting up-close-and-personal — quite literally. Spend more time interacting with your baby — cuddling, stroking and just talking to her, face-to-face. Between the third and fifth week, when your baby shares her first real smile, you'll likely be well over any postpartum blues. (If not, you might want to join a support group or speak with a counselor.)

For Dad

Do what you can do. If baby is breast-fed, you can't provide your baby's primary interest right now — food — but Dads can lend a hand elsewhere, with diapering, burping, cuddling and playing with the baby. If your baby is formula-fed, Dads can help with some of the feedings. And once breastfeeding has been established, Dad can pitch in by bottle-feeding the newborn with milk pumped by Mom. Don't assume your baby doesn't want you, or need you. One great way to feel connected is to place your baby on your chest after she's finished feeding.

For Siblings

If this is your first baby, then she's probably the center of your universe, or will soon be. But if you have other children, a new addition to the family can make them feel as though their world has been invaded.

This is true to some degree. Still, older siblings can adopt a positive attitude and jealousy can be reduced or eliminated. To nip potential problems in the bud, it's often helpful to allow older children the opportunity to visit your newborn in the hospital. At home, encourage a positive attitude by older children:

  • Let them play an active role in caring for the baby — holding, feeding and even diapering her. At the least, younger siblings can help fetch you diapers. Or as with Dad, once breast-feeding has been established, they can bottle-feed your baby expressed (or pumped) breast milk.
  • Praise your older children for any help or compliments they offer. Remind them how much the baby looks like they did at that age and how much your newborn can learn from an older brother or sister.
  • No matter their age, it's important to set aside a special time each day to spend alone with the older sibling — possibly while the baby is sleeping. This is the time you should spend sharing in the activities you did before your newborn's arrival. While it's important for older siblings be a part of your baby's arrival, they must still feel they have a very personal relationship with you and your spouse and haven't been replaced.

 

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breast-feeding
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Last updated October 02, 2013


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