How long did it take you to bond with your baby?
Do you think it was an instantaneous thing? Well for some that happens, but for others it can take a while.
According to a national survey that interviewed 500 women, “seven out of ten mums think they are going to bond at birth with their bubs, but more than half find it takes much longer than that.
Pinky McKay a Lactation consultant has said, ‘baby bonding was “a bit like falling in love” Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it takes ages for the magic to develop. “(Herald Sun, July 24, 2016)
The national survey was commissioned by WOTBaby which is an app that acts like a midwife in your pocket. It is a good tool for parents to consult and it goes up to six months of age.
The WOTBaby app was developed by Jen Hamilton who is a mothercraft nurse.
“In my experience, I generally find on average, mums truly bond with their child at four to five months,” Ms Hamilton said. (Herald Sun, July 24, 2016)
If you are not one of the mums that had the instant bonding moment then you might feel like it is a problem with you. Well you are fine! Trust me. Being pregnant, labor, birth, and now suddenly you have a new little person to care for. It is a BIG SHOCK to the system, and more so if you have twins or more.
Depending on what happened during the birth and afterwards you could have very different reactions to your little bundle of joy.
Here are some things that could delay or not help with bonding:
- New mum and overwhelmed. Tired or actually more like exhausted. (I was like the walking dead when I first had the twins. Up all the time to feed, change nappies and to also express breast milk. It was a big blur of feeling like I had no sleep)
- Problems breast feeding. If your baby does not take to it or if you have difficulties it cannot help with the bonding process. (I had to express both times with the twins and now my little boy. We did try breast feeds but it did not work out well for us)
- Getting Mastitis/ill. I got very ill with mastitis after having Alexander and ended up in hospital for about 3-4 days. I needed antibiotics intravenously and it was not fun. I had the baby with me but it was tough.
- Premature babies/baby. In my case the twins were born 6 weeks early so they were taken to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) It was hard to bond with babies that were not with me all the time and the fact that they were confined to a humicrib made things difficult.
- Still recovering from the birth. Depending on what type of birth you had you might still need to rest. This can make caring for a new baby more difficult and can impact on bonding.
- Support network. Having a good support network is ideal. I know it is hard with everyone being so busy these days, plus living further and further away from each other. If your partner can allow you to have some down time, this can help you to recharge your batteries. It might be harder if you have older children and now a newborn. If people offer help accept it! Don’t put pressure on yourself. Everyone is not perfect. Although you look outside at others and they might appear to have it all together I’m sure they are worrying or annoyed about something. Things take time. Unreal expectations is not healthy and we have all done this, judging ourselves by what we think we should be like or doing. I say take your time. Do your thing and just keep going. You will learn the cues of your little baby, you will figure out what the grunts and gurgles mean. In time you will feel more confident about everything. Learning a new person takes time.
I took a while to bond with my darling twins. I loved them to bits but due to them being in the NICU, being super tired, first time mum, recovering from a very long birth (over 30 hours) as you can imagine things were hectic and I was just doing what I thought I was supposed to do.
After I had the twins the nurses at the NICU were ringing my room to ask me for breast milk. As I just had them and these were my first children the breast milk had not come in yet. Great more pressure. One baby was okay on formula until I got my breastmilk but the other little girl was on strike. She hated the formula and was listed as nil by mouth! Oh gosh….. More phone calls to my room asking for breast milk. More visits by nurses trying to play with my boobs to help me get breast milk and all while I struggled to keep my eyes open.
Since I was in a room on my own and the twins were in the NICU I was told to have pictures of them to help me with the breast milk situation. I did think at times it was all a dream. Did I have kids? Oh yes, I’m in a hospital. Yes I did. Where are they??? Oh that’s right they are in intensive care. It was a very surreal moment and one that I did not feel I could discuss with anyone else. I felt that I would be judged.
So as you can see my first experience was unique due to having twins as my first children. Now looking back to the birth with our little boy in January this year it was completely different. The birth and care was so much nicer and calmer… maybe that was due to one baby this time or the fact that he was born on his due date? Maybe it was also due to not having a full room of student doctors, nurses, and two doctors for each baby, extra support people and two humidicribs for the twins. Having one baby that was on time meant that I had one midwife, one nurse, hubby and me in the delivery room. It was so nice to not have a full gallery of people there.
Due to having one baby this time, also being a good weight and being born on his due date he was put on me after birth. This was a nice experience as it did not happen when the twins were born. It allowed me to have some time cuddling our new little person and to help bond.
I did find that due to some issues with our little boy not latching on the breast properly, and having silent reflux, being fussy about things it made the first three months rather difficult. He screamed the place down due to having air in his belly and it was hard to remove! I think with age he got better and therefore after about three months he was much calmer, and this made feeding and the bedtime routine easier.
Another concern was how the twins would bond with the baby. We did not know if it was a boy/girl, although Julia wanted the baby to be a girl. She wanted to be the three sisters and have a picture taken at the Three Sisters at Katoomba. As you know we had a boy and the twins are so in love with their little baby brother. They help out and dote on him all the time, he is going to be a very spoilt little boy. My worries were for nothing. Did you do this when you had the second or third child? Stress about how the other kids would go with the new baby?
Our family is complete with our little baby boy and our twin girls. We love our kids to bits, and would not change anything. It took a while to get into the swing of things and that helped us learn everything about our three cheeky monkeys.
3 tips to remember!
- Bonding is a personal experience. Don’t measure or judge yourself on what others are doing.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself if bonding with baby is not instant. It can take up to six months or maybe more.
- Don’t confuse not bonding with not loving your baby. You’re a mum, of course you love your baby and the bonding will happen, so just relax and it will happen when it happens.
If you are experiencing postnatal depression/postnatal anxiety or having issues bonding with their baby contact PANDA on 1300 726 306. The hotline is open from 10am to 5pm.
Due to the launch of WOTbaby the topic of bonding with babies has been in the media. I was on Today Extra with Jen Hamilton discussing the issue.
I was also featured in an article by Smooth FM called, “When you don’t bond with your baby instantly”.
Let us know how you went with your first or second or third babies? Was it the same or different? How did you go?