Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.
Bonding With Your Baby
It's a very special moment in all parents' lives when they are handed their newborn for the very first time. It is then that the bonding experience begins—when an attachment between the parents and baby starts to grow.
This bonding experience grows deeper as parents and baby interact in every day activities, such as during feedings, cuddling, or yes, even diaper changing. Bonding seems to be encouraged and mentioned most with breastfeeding moms, but what about dads or those moms who choose not to or can't breastfeed?
Bonding is definitely possible during bottle feeding for both moms and dads and can be a very rewarding experience. Learn some tips about how to bond with your baby during bottle feeding, as well as some bottle feeding tips for both moms and dads.
Bottle Feeding Babies
Moms and dads choose to bottle feed babies either by necessity or by choice. Babies can be fed both expressed breast milk and formula through bottles, making it convenient option for those who struggled with breastfeeding or those who choose to use formula to feed their babies.
If you tried at first to breastfeed but struggled with it and stopped, you may have felt a disconnect between you and your baby as you switched gears to bottle feeding. Don't worry; your baby still needs you and wants to be with you. He or she will just need to learn some new tricks just as you do when you switch to bottle feeding. You could still choose to express your breast milk with a pump or switch to formula altogether, but that's up to your personal preference and what you decide is best for your baby.
If you decided right away to bottle feed, you may have received some criticism regarding doing what's best for your baby. Learn to take that criticism with a grain of salt; you'll hear a lot of similar criticism no matter what you decide to do with your baby. Know that your decision to bottle feed is what you believe is best for your baby, as your intentions will always be what is best for the baby.
No matter how you came to your decision, you will be able to bond with your baby.
Bottle Feeding Tips
Place bottle in a cup of warm water to heat up breastmilk or formula.
Use the right size and flow of nipple for your baby.
Keep the baby's head elevated to prevent spit-ups or excess gas.
Keep the bottle tilted so the breastmilk or formula is in the nipple.
Burp the baby every few ounces.
Bonding With Your Baby While Bottle Feeding
Here's how you can bond with your baby while bottle feeding:
- Keep the baby close to you as you feed him or her.
- Pay attention to the baby, and not to the TV, smartphone, or the Internet.
- Talk to the baby; even though he or she can't respond, they're still listening!
- Sing to the baby. If you're not into baby songs or nursery rhymes, sing one of your favorite songs quietly.
- Hold the baby's hand while feeding. Touch is a powerful way to bond with a baby, especially a newborn.
- Look into the baby's eyes, and keep eye contact.
- Cuddle with the baby after the feeding (except at nighttime, of course).
These are all things that moms and dads can both do. While they seem so simple, they are the keys to bonding with your baby at any time.
What happens when bonding doesn't seem to be working? At first, the bonding experience may not be as evident, especially when the mom is exhausted from giving birth or from being up all night with the baby. For the dad, it may seem difficult when the mom is the primary caregiver for the baby and may not be as willing to give up the feedings.
Bonding may take time for some parents, especially for those having their first baby. It doesn't mean the bonding experience isn't there; it mostly means that you may not think the baby is benefiting from what you're doing since he or she can't express gratitude just yet.
You'd be surprised how it happens: one day, you might just be finishing a long feeding and burping the baby. You take him or her off your shoulder, and boom, there it is: a giant, toothless smile, the best reward for all of your bonding efforts.
Give it time, and enjoy all of the precious moments you have with your baby!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Marissa
Lara C. on September 14, 2015:
This is a good hub. I plan on breastfeeding but I want to have lots of info in my arsenal if something doesn't work out -- always having a plan B! These are good tips.
Marissa (author) from United States on October 27, 2012:
Glimmer Twin Fan, I too had troubles with breastfeeding and had to realize that bottle feeding was the right thing to do for my babies. I bet you just melted when you saw that first smile! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
Claudia Mitchell on October 27, 2012:
Nice hub. We had no success breastfeeding and I was upset, but then I realized that bottle feeding was ok too and it was the time that I spent with her that was so special. I remember her first smile was at about 3 in the morning and I was so happy at that moment.