One common question that we receive from expectant mothers centers around the idea that they may not like or love their baby as much as they think they should. Some parents agonize over this possibility without understanding that their relationship with their child requires development just like any other relationship. While you may have immediate feelings of joy, love, and pride for your new baby, it can take time and effort to develop a strong attachment. Continue reading for some tips on developing and strengthening newborn intimacy.

Take Advantage of the “Golden Hour”

The first hour of a child’s life can be used to build strong connections between mother and child. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the “golden hour” encourages mother-infant bonding, self-attachment, and appropriate maternal response to her baby. The close time directly after birth not only helps improve newborn intimacy but also is excellent for establishing a breastfeeding relationship and the release of oxytocin (or the love hormone) which plays a vital role in building newborn intimacy.

Skin to Skin

Another method of releasing oxytocin is through “kangaroo care.” In this process, the baby lays on their parent bare skin to skin. There are a ton of benefits to being in the skin to skin position that positively affects both mom and baby regarding strengthening their relationship. However, kangaroo care is an excellent option for helping dads feel connected to their babies. Often, dads can feel left out because of how much the child relies on their mother in the early days. If the mother is breastfeeding, the amount of close time spent in feedings builds newborn intimacy that dads don’t often receive.

Talking to Your Baby

Typically overlooked but surprisingly effective, talking to your child while they are in the womb is one of the only ways to build newborn intimacy before a baby is born. Making time to read to them, sing a song or even just general conversation can help them build familiarity with your voice. Some studies have even shown that consistently singing a song or reading a book to a baby in the womb can make it a favorite for the child as a baby. As a result, you may be able to use your voice as a means of soothing your child as they get older.