Baby bonding webchat with Alison Knights, Monday 20th February, 12-1pm

The relationship between mother and baby is the most beautiful thing in the world, but perhaps you might feel like you need a helping hand in getting to know your newborn? Or maybe you'd like to speed up the process of bonding with your baby?



Whatever your concerns may be, baby bonding expert Alison Knights will be here to answer your questions in a live webchat, Monday 20th February, 12-1pm.



A clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience working with mothers, babies and families, Alison has a particular expertise in helping women enjoy pregnancy and life with their child.



Join us here, between 12-1pm on Monday 20th February, when Alison will be answering your baby bonding questions.



Don't worry if you can't make the chat then, post your questions below now and Alison will endeavour to answer as many questions on the day as possible.

Posts

  • Hi Alison,



    My baby is now 6 weeks old but spent the first 4 weeks of his life in the neonatal unit due to various problems. He is on the mend now and should make a full recovery but I'm worried that we haven't bonded so well due to the time we've spent apart. We're making up for lost time with lots of cuddles but this is now causing him to only want to sleep in our arms, and not on his own. How can we ensure we bond well without him becoming clingy?



    We also have another child, who's nearly 3 and since Christmas he has also become very clingy. He doesn't want to be left at nursery, or with grandparents, even though he was previously very independant and went to most people well. He did spend a lot of time with babysitters whilst we visited our other son in hospital so maybe he's feeling a bit pushed away? He was at the hospital before, during and immediately after I gave birth, which was pretty traumatic, any suggestions on how we can make sure he doesn't go on to have any psychological issues following this?



    Many thanks,
  • Hello Alison



    A very good friend of mine has just had a gorgeous baby boy who's 12 days old now, but when I went to visit at the weekend I noticed my friend was a bit teary and down, she was trying her best to be upbeat but I could tell something was wrong. She seemed quite aloof with the baby, leaving him in a soiled nappy for quite a long time and she seemed to resent breast feeding him. Oh and she called him 'it' a few times [although she said that was a joke!]



    She had quite a difficult labour and I think maybe she's struggling to bond with him because of that. She's Godmother to my daughter and was amazing when she was a baby so I'm really surprised she hasn't taken to motherhood like I thought she would. She's usually very stong and quite unlikely to go looking for help, I really want to be supportive and steer her in the right direction, how can I help her to bond with him without being interfering?



    Thanks

  • Hello and welcome to today's Baby Bonding web chat. I'm Alison Knights, a Clinical Psychologist who works with parents and babies, and looking forward to answering your questions here image



    Bonding with your baby is all about developing a relationship with your child. any questions or concerns about this then do post your question. I'm here to help!
  • Hi Cas1980uk,



    Thank you for your questions. You've had a really tough time recently with lots of worries.

    Now that you and your baby are home, you need to give yourselves time to recover. Not just you, but baby and your 3year old too. The process of attachment and bonding is a long term one and not just something that happens in the first few days after birth. The first thing that you now need to do is to give yourselves time to recover from the worry and if that means having cuddles and allowing your baby to fall asleep in your arms then that is what to do. There are no rights or wrongs here. You are needing to spend time to get to know your baby and your baby needs time to recover from their experiences in hospital.

    It is very early days yet.

    Your baby cannot become clingy at this stage. Babies communicate their needs and need to be responded to. In this way they learn that the world is safe and predictable and that their needs will be met. This is what makes them secure.



    With regard to your your 3 year old, do not underestimate what having a new baby means to him. As well as this big event in his life he is also affected by how worried you have been. Little children regress at such times. He will be that confident child again but for now he is saying to you I need you to help me. Allow him to be little again and you may need to treat him like a baby for a while. Gradually he will regain his confidence.



    If you would like to know more contact me on my advice line or via: www.baby-science.com
  • Hi Alison!



    So pleased you're here!!! I had my second baby just three weeks ago. The first time around was pretty painless and I have the most gorgeous four year old girl, but I'm worried I won't have the same closeness with my little boy. I breastfed my first baby without any problems but have been unable to breastfeed my little newborn boy anymore because of really bad mastitis. I am now bottlefeeding him and really noticing the difference in the bond I have with him compared to what I felt when breastfeeding my daughter.



    I already had concerns about the bond with a boy, compared to that with a girl. But now I'm really worried we won't be as close because I can't breastfeed him. What can I do to increase the closeness between us at feeding times, and are there any ways to make the connection stronger now that I can't breastfeed my baby boy.



    Thanks so much!!!
  • Dear Leakyloohlah,



    It is difficult to see a friend having such a tough time with her new baby. She too will be feeling that this is not how it was supposed to be.

    It is not unusual when a mum has had a difficult birth that they don't find it easy to bond with their baby.

    Often there are feelings of anger that are difficult to voice about the birth not going well and feeling pretty wretched about the whole business. Your friend is needing to recover from her experience at the same time as looking after a new baby which is the most emotionally and physically demanding job in the world.



    You and those around her can help her by being caring and supportive. It can also help by talking with her about the baby she imagined she would have in pregnancy. These hopes have got lost and a bit spoiled by what has happened. It will be hard for her to see how much her baby needs her and how much she was looking forward to having her baby when she is feeling so poorly. So the more she is loved and looked after the more she will be able to love and look after her baby. Under no circumstances be critical as she will be feeling critical enough about herself.



    For further information see: www.baby-science.com



    Good luck with supporting for friend,

    Alison
  • Hi Alison,



    I'm in my second trimester with my first baby. I'm very excited/nervouys and want to know all there is to know! Do you have any top tips for bonding with a newborn baby?



    Thanks,

    Wonderwoman47
  • Hi Lalalove19,



    Congratulations on having your baby boy!



    You are feeling pretty disappointed in not being able to breastfeed but this is not the only way to bond with your baby.



    The most important thing to know about the process of bonding is that it takes time and comes in many forms. Breastfeeding helps but what the recent research says is that it is the intimacy of the experience rather than breastfeeding per se that is important. So, I suggest that you re-create the feeding experience as though you are breastfeeding. Skin to skin contact is one of the ways in which breastfeeding helps calm baby and promote bonding, and this is something that you can do anyway. Also talking to your baby while feeding as would do when breastfeeding is another way. The key is to make the experience as intimate and close as possible emotionally and not let the bottle or your disappointment 'get in the way' of you and for baby.



    Bonding is all about falling in love with your baby and getting to know him as a unique little person. For example, when you are changing his nappy or caring for him in any way, take time to notice how he responds to you and give yourself time to respond to him. He will be fascinated in your face and watching your expressions and keen for you to talk to him. He is already in love with you, he knows your voice from before he was born. He can identify you as his mother and distinguish you from other people. You are the most important person in his world. Not being able to breastfeed him does not change any of that.



    Have a look at my blog for more info on this: www.baby-science.com/ News and Views.



    Best wishes,

    Alison
  • Hi wonderwoman47,



    Congratulations on your pregnancy image



    You already have started the process of bonding with your baby. By thinking about him/her and looking after yourself and feeling excited, and nervous too, you are well on your way to bond with your baby.



    By 22 weeks in the womb babies can hear their mothers voices so that when they are born they recognise mum ( & dad) from all other people. So singing and talking to your baby now will help you feel close and will help your baby know you.



    After birth, it is important to know that the process of bonding and attachment takes time. You need to get to know your baby and his or her unique personality, likes and dislikes and how your baby needs you to help them manage how they feel. Skin to skin contact helps keep babies calm and is one way to promote closeness.



    If you would like to know more, contact me on my advice line or connect with me on; www.baby-science.com



    Have a happy pregnancy!

    Best wishes,

    Alison

    Best wishes
  • Thanks to all of you who have sent in questions. Hope you have found the information useful. If you would like to know more about bonding, attachment, child development, pre and post natal depression, or my baby-science workshops, you can connect with me on my website: www.baby-science.com or on my blog www.baby-science.com News and Views, or on Twitter: @AliKnightsPsych.



    For advice: 0906 194 9633.



    'Getting help earlier is better for you and your baby because of very rapid brain and social development in the early years" - Baby Science
  • Thanks to Alison for a great webchat!



    If any of you would like further advice on bonding with your baby then you can call Alison Knight's Greatvine advice line on 0906 194 9912 (calls cost ??1.53/minute from a BT landline, calls from mobiles and other networks may vary).
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