Babies need love.
They're more immature at birth than most mammals. Studies with Romanian orphans who were deprived of love, touch and affection found that not only were they emotionally immature; they were also smaller in stature.
Other studies have shown that babies who are denied love may well become violent adults.
Above all, loving babies fulfils a basic need in adults.
The day's frustrations can be dissolved by a giggle; heartache fades with a smile and exhaustion disappears with a cuddle.
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Here are a few ways you can show your newborn your love:
1. Hold your baby as soon after birth as possible
Giving birth comes with a euphoric sense of relief to you and your baby. Skin to skin contact helps you recover from the trauma you've both survived.
It's during this time that your baby is most alert, and you and he can seal a physical and emotional bond that will sustain your relationship for life. Newborns are particularly appealing.
They have huge eyes, dilated pupils and intense eye-to-eye contact. The first half-hour after birth is your baby's first impression of the world around him.
While "getting to know you" begins during pregnancy, giving birth is an abrupt, irreversible plunge into parenthood.
Bonding begins at birth – and takes a lifetime to complete. This connection is sharpest immediately after birth.
Holding your baby, compensates for the physical emptiness of the womb and reassures you that you'll overcome the obstacles of parenthood.
3. Create a happy environment
All children have the need to feel wanted and accepted with continuity in a relationship and a sense that there is a regular, dependable quality to the world in which they live.
Make your home a happy place where your children feel wanted.
Author Mary Scott wrote: "Does it really matter about the house being a bit unkempt if the inhabitants are happy in it?"
4. Love your baby through his senses
Your baby's senses are highly tuned into you soon after birth. This intense, highly advanced, nonverbal communication link gently teaches you how to respond to his needs.
In turn, the way he responds to touch, taste, smell, sight and sound prompts formation of his personality, likes and dislikes.
5. Instil a sense of trust
Babies are frightened when they are born. Unfamiliar with noise, light and space they bungee-jump from the umbilical cord, and then they are unceremoniously plopped, fighting and screaming, into their mothers' arms!
Over time, babies learn to trust their parents because loving parents are trustworthy.
6. Love your baby for who he is
Babies are individuals born with unique characteristics, temperament and personalities.
Well-known US paediatrician, T. Berry Brazelton, identified 27 behavioural patterns that could predict a baby' s temperament.
While some babies are "easy" – with regular body functions and a positive mood, and they quickly adapt to new situations – "difficult" babies have irregular body rhythms and show an intense, negative response to new situations.
Don't expect your baby to fit into the mould you want – love him for who he is.
7. Adaptive parenting
Parenthood is like plunging into new territory and that territory is different with every baby.
Adapting parenting skills does not mean spoiling your baby and giving in to his every whim, but it does mean understanding why he digs his heels in when he is stubborn.
8. Share your baby
It' s understandable that a new mother will protect her baby with the viciousness of a lioness.
She is also very selective when deciding who will hold her baby and who may subsidise her position as mother.
Sharing your baby with your husband or partner and other family members will expose him to different types of love and attention. This will teach him when to accept or reject the advances of a stranger later in life.
9. Absorb your baby's distress
It's understandable that you get distraught when your baby cries. Experienced parents learn to be patient because they have mastered the art of absorbing their baby's distress.
This is achieved by making comforting noises, rhythmic movement and body language.
It takes practice, patience and perseverance to get it right. Focus on your baby' s needs at the time and dissolve his distress. This inevitably also resolves chaos.
10. Tough love
From the moment the doctor snips the umbilical cord, you realise that you and your baby are no longer physically connected. This means that for the next 21 years, your job is to make your child an independent, responsible asset to society.
How did you bond with your newborn baby? Share your tips!
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