Now that I don’t have a new baby in the house, I can easily romanticize those snuggly baby hugs and cuddles. Oh my, nostalgia is powerful! But if I really think back into the recesses of those true memories, I know that there is a lot of stress, sweat, and tears. Sometimes — a lot of times — new babies are boring and the romantic love feelings can take a while to develop.
If you or your partner want to feel closer to the little person in your house, I have a few been-there-done-that tips for you:
Get skin to skin
Whether you’re breastfeeding or napping together, maximizing the skin on your baby touching your own skin increases feelings of closeness and the love hormone. In your first days at home, spend as much time as you can in bed, semi-reclining with baby on your chest. Skin-to-skin time helps regulate babies temperatures as well as promoting bonding. In the chilly winter months, put a blanket over both of you.
I really love baby massage as a means to calm a fussy baby and de-stress a parent at the same time. By familiarizing yourself with a few techniques, you can get to know your small person in a whole new way. Here are some easy tips on how to massage a baby. Tip: always be gentle and stop if either of you cries.
Wear your baby
It might seem obvious but babies who are carried more cry less and feel more connected to their caregivers. I would assume that the same is also true of the sleep-deprived parents who can more easily brush their teeth and take a phone call.
Take a bath or shower together
Rather than use a baby tub every time, draw a bath and go in together. I have found it extremely helpful to have a partner parent standing by to diaper and pajamify the baby right afterwards.
Talk, read, sing
As your newborn matures into a baby and toddler, keep the connection alive by paying attention to each other. Get down on her level and see what she sees. Talk and engage about what she cares about.
The thing that most of these tips have in common is physical closeness. By hearing each other breathe and feeling each other’s heartbeats, you can’t help but activate the love hormone, Oxytocin, and feel more attached to your new child.
Once your baby becomes an person who can tie his own shoes, you will look back at these moments of baby cuddles with fondness, too.