Bonding, what is that special bond between parent and child

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Bonding, what is it

Many new mothers feel a deep bond with their baby since pregnancy, but for other parents, getting in tune with the baby is not so immediate. Do you know that the bonding, i.e. theattachment between parent and infant, can it be "trained and built" day after day, since the baby is in the belly? Let's see how to create a bond with the newborn and how to strengthen it day after day.





In this article

  • The meaning of bonding
  • Bonding in pregnancy
  • How to build bonding with your baby
  • Activities to do with the child
  • What if I can't bond with my baby?

The meaning of bonding

The word bonding - introduced in the United States in 1982 - derives from the English term bond, which means "attack". In childcare it indicates that attachment, that deep bond that is established between parent and child from birth that allows you to feed, breastfeed, cuddle, take care and that allows the child to feel welcomed and to communicate with the parent, and to mom or dad to learn to interpret the child's needs and respond effectively.



Bonding, therefore, occurs when a child and caregiver create one strong connection between them, emotionally and physically. This bond favors the development of connections between brain cells that are essential for learning, the growth of the baby's body and the positive development of the baby's emotional aspects.

Read also: Aptonomy and Rebirthing

Bonding in pregnancy

La building a deep bond between mother and child it does not begin with birth, but lays its foundation already during pregnancy. It is normal for a baby to attach itself to its mother while she is in her belly: she recognizes her voice, is lulled by her movements and by the gurgling and noises of her body, he senses her emotions.



Immediately after birth, the newborn therefore recognizes the skin, the smell and the voice of the mother and also that of the father, who has talked to him throughout the pregnancy.

How to build bonding with your baby

Immediately after the birth the newborn is placed on the mother's belly and rooming in, that is the habit of leaving the baby in the mother's hospital room for the whole day, are standard procedures that serve to promote attachment between parent and child and encourage breastfeeding.

Some modalities of construction of bonding with the newborn include:

  • smile at the child;
  • talk to him from the earliest days;
  • establish skin-to-skin contact and caress and pamper it.

As the weeks go by, this form of attachment also manifests itself in the simple daily actions of nourishment and care of the newborn:

  • change the diaper;
  • breast or bottle feeding him;
  • play with the baby;
  • speak with him;
  • keep it safe in your arms;
  • comfort him when he cries.

We must not be afraid of not being able to respond adequately to the needs of the child even if we do not have a "instruction manual"we are intimately designed to take care of the baby in the most effective way. We just need to practice a little and listen to instinct: we will learn to read and interpret the cry, the signals that the baby sends us, understand what activities he likes more and we must not be afraid of spoiling the newborn too much because when they are so small the presence and love of the mother is not a vice but a necessity.

Activities to do with the child

Here are some activities that allow us to build and strengthen the bond with the baby:

  • do things calmly, speaking softly;
  • maintain skin-to-skin, eye and eye contact when breastfeeding, both at the breast and with the bottle;
  • massage and pamper the baby;
  • smile and talk to the little one looking him in the eye;
  • sing, read colorful and soft little books, talk to him and play simple games;
  • take a bath in the evening.

What if I can't bond with my baby?

Some parents experience one instant connection with their baby already in the first hours after birth and they describe it as an overwhelming feeling of love and protection. But don't worry if you don't feel these feelings right away - relationships can sometimes take a while to grow. Don't feel the pressure and don't feel guilty, or else a imperfect parent. We all are and on this, as on other occasions in life, we may need help and support from family, friends and experts.

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