When you find out you’re expecting, it’s normal to feel a flood of emotions. You’re excited, nervous and eager to meet your little one. You’re careful throughout your pregnancy, you follow the
advice you’ve been given, and you create your birthing plan with a little help from your midwife and partner.
Labor begins and even though you’re a little scared and nervous, you cannot wait to meet and bond with your newborn. But when circumstances beyond your control don’t allow you to have the birth you envisioned, missed warning signs, or doctor’s negligence, and your baby is whisked away upon arrival to be placed into the care of the team in the NICU. You’re left with your dreams of a safe birth and all those precious bonding moments shattered.
This can feel like the rug has been pulled from under your feet. And while your child is in the right place for all their medical needs, both you and your baby are going to encounter barriers that can make bonding difficult. But all is not lost. Bonding is crucial to your baby’s development and your feelings of attachment and love, however, there are still plenty of ways you can bond even when your child needs a little extra medical care.
It’s natural to feel a little frightened when you see your baby covered in wires, surrounded by beeping monitors, and encased inside an incubator. And they are probably scared, too. Here are FOUR ways to bond with your baby while they are in special care and let them know right from the start you are there with them.
1. Help with their care
Getting yourself involved in their daily care will not only allow you to bond with your baby, but it will also help boost your confidence. Do as much as the team will let you and get to know what all the machines are for and what detailed care your baby is receiving. Coordinate your visits around times when your baby is receiving treatments, change the bedding, learn how to administer medications, and do all the little things which make you feel like a mom.
2. Touch them as much as possible
Keeping your baby’s pain levels and skin sensitivity in mind (the nurses will help you here), you should touch your baby as much as possible. Cup their feet, hold their little fingers, and do whatever you can to let them know you, their mother is there and touching them, not just medical professional strangers.
3. Make eye contact
The best way to establish an emotional connection with your newborn is to make as much eye contact as possible. Let them see your face, your smile, and your facial expressions. Try not to
4. Talk to them
Allowing your little one to hear your voice is comforting. Talk as often as you can. Tell your baby what you’ve been doing, or what their siblings are up to at school. You can sing, read
them a story, anything! Soon it will become second nature.