Heads up: We’re sharing ways to build a strong bond with your baby in this sponsored post on behalf of Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Yogurt, all opinions remain my own.
I remember it so vividly, those first few weeks… I pretty much dreaded holding my baby, because that meant he would want to eat and I had never felt pain like that before. It was thrush, and for a few weeks, I lived blanketed in tears and fear. Fear of the pain of each feeding, fear that it wouldn’t end and fear that I wouldn’t bond with my little one.
Of course, writing this now, I feel so far removed from those moments and grateful for the special bond that I share, distinct and different with each of my children. Bonding can be an instant attachment, or it’s a relationship that’s developed over time… and mamas, both are totally okay. You see, even after those first weeks and the distance I felt with my little one, it was easy to let grief, sadness or even guilt creep in for the bonding time I felt like we’d lost. The only result? More guilt over more lost time.
Whether you’re new to this mama-baby relationship, be it with a new baby or through adoption, or you’re transitioning to the toddler years and wanting to bond as your little one grows (because a shift happens in your relationship as your baby ages), I’m here to tell you, you CAN bond with your babe and today I’m sharing a few simple ways to build a strong bond.
Building a Strong Bond during the Busy Times.
As I was writing this post last night, my teething babe just wanted me. I decided to close my laptop, pull her close and within moments she was asleep in my arms. The crazy part is that I had a hard time laying her down after that… it was me that didn’t want to let her go! So yes, I cuddled, snuggled and breathed in that sweet baby scent for as long as I could.
In the busy world we live in, know that it’s not about the amount of time we spend together, but rather how we spend the time we have together.
If I would have held her while I continued to write (and there have been times that I’ve needed to!), it would have taken much longer for her to fall asleep and also means less of a bonding time because my focus would have been elsewhere. As a work-from-home-mom, there are times my kids piggy-back on my work time, but I’m also aware of the time I put devices and everything else out of reach to focus on them, on us, as we have bonding time together.
Have you ever wondered why our kids, and even our babies, are obsessed with our phones? It’s because they mirror behavior! They aren’t interested in what we try to give them to play with… they notice and are interested in what interests us. Seeing this behavior is always a reminder that I’ve been device-focused and it’s time to take a “time-out” for some family-focused time together.
Setting aside some time together, even if it’s at bedtime, to not have anything else pulling your attention from your little one is a great way to begin bonding. When our focus is divided, so is our bond, and pouring our focus onto our little ones (even if it’s a few moments at a time), will allow us to see the sweetest of things we may have missed with only partial attention, thus building a stronger bond.
Building a Strong Bond during Play Time.
From newborn on up, play time… no matter how short or how long, is a great opportunity for bonding. In the early stages, it can come in the form of using a sing-song voice to talk about your day or splash in the bath.
Usually around 5 to 12 months you might catch your baby giggling as you make faces or play peekaboo, and something I especially love is the post bath laughs and games.
No matter the age, sightseeing, even if it’s around the kitchen as you cook, is a great way to explain the world around you and the cool part is that it helps us experience the life we’ve been living in a new way. Oh and our sweet toddlers love to play games as they learn 1-2-3’s and A-B-C’s through songs, colorful blocks and books.
Taking a few of these moments together each day, focused on your little one and just playing together (nothing else) will allow you to see their cues, watch their reactions… and they’ll do the same with you, building a stronger bond.
Building a Strong Bond during Feeding Time.
No matter the age of your little one, when it’s time to eat, it’s SUCH a great way to share a bonding moment. As moms, it’s easy to obsess or worry about the health and nutrients our kids are getting, but what about the developmental moments? Newborns crave that cuddle time during those bottle or breastfeeding moments and it provides that perfect cradling opportunity together.
As they grow older and we begin to introduce foods, typically around six months, think about the what and the how. My wee ones ALL love yogurt and I love that yogurt is filled with probiotics. Something we don’t typically realize is that while cow’s milk has to be consumed after babies turn one year old, yogurt is different because of the live and active cultures helping to digest the lactose… meaning no sweetener-added foods, like Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Banana Mango with probiotics, are good first foods for your already sweet baby, starting at just 6 months old.
And while we’re feeding our little ones Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Yogurt, the #1 pediatrician recommended yogurt for babies and kids 6 months to 2 years among refrigerated yogurts, we can turn this snack time into time for bonding. Because Stonyfield YoBaby is thick and creamy, it helps with less mess for moms while feeding AND especially for babies/toddlers that are starting to self-feed (like mine)!
Something I’ve found is that when we’ve had a hard time introducing new foods, many times it’s because we put too much pressure on our babies, or on ourselves. Take a breath and a step back from the “structured” part of feeding time and just have fun with your baby, they’re more likely to try something new, and in turn enjoy the new food while it lends to a stronger bond together.
Making the Most of Those “Extra” Times
Think about all the other moments you spend with your kids. I’ll be the first to admit, when it comes to bedtime, I’m usually SO ready for some rest myself that I’d like to get them tucked right in and be on my way. Something that I’ve come to realize though, is that bedtime is much less dreaded when your kids know they get a few special moments with you at bedtime. Maybe it’s reading a book or telling a story with funny voices, maybe it’s cuddles and songs or your own memorable tradition… it doesn’t have to be long to make it a bonding time.
For us, post dinner dish duty also usually means dancing to music in the kitchen and a walk together typically ends in races or games.
There is so much joy in bonding with your baby, and if you haven’t quite figured it out yet, give yourself some grace and just like we talked about with trying new foods, take a step back and a deep breath, relax and give it time!
Tell me in the comments: How do you build a long lasting, strong bond with your little ones?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Yogurt.