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Building a loving relationship with your new baby

Connecting with your baby is good for their brain development. Building a bond with your unborn baby is fun, it may also help you both adjust in the early days after the birth.  

Top Tips for getting to know your baby before the birth

  • From about 20 weeks babies respond to sounds - put on your favourite music or sing and see if your baby is more active or if they seem to go off to sleep  
  • Try playing soothing music or sing a lullaby when you are going to sleep. Your baby will remember this and it may help baby to sleep after the birth  
  • When you feel your baby kick, put your hand on your tummy, rub baby gently and say “it’s okay baby I’m right here!”  
  • Talk to your baby as though she or he were right there in front of you, tell them what you are doing. The unborn baby recognises his/her parent’s voices  
  • Think about how your new baby will look once you get to meet after the birth

Skin to skin contact  

Baby’s first special cuddle after the birth should last at least an hour. 

Skin to skin contact is important to: 

  • help baby to stabilise breathing and heart rate  
  • keep baby warm  
  • calms mum and baby after the birth  
  • helps get breastfeeding off to a great start  

Labour and birth events can make learning to feed a bit tricky for some babies in the first few days – it will really help to have as much skin to skin contact with baby as possible. 

Understanding your new born baby’s behaviour  

Find out more information about understanding your baby's behaviour and what breastfeeding looks like. 

Getting to know each other 

In the early days and weeks it is important that mums and babies stay close together:  

  • Mum learns her baby’s behaviour and feeding “cues” 
  • Mum gains confidence in handling and caring for her baby 
  • Baby learns to recognise mum and feels safe and secure 

Dads/ partners are great at stepping in when mum needs a break and helping to settle baby. It’s a good idea for your partner to have at least an hour of skin to skin contact every day to develop their relationship and bond with baby. A “co sleeper crib” is a great idea for helping with night time parenting. Find out more information about how getting support from your family can help with breastfeeding. 

Responsive Breastfeeding 

Responsive breastfeeding is good for baby’s brain development and for mum's confidence. 

Feeding for comfort is just as important as feeding for food: 

  • Comfort for baby – maybe feeling distressed or lonely  
  • Comfort for mum – breasts may be full or may simply need to sit down and have a cuddle with her little one  
  • Being responsive and sensitive will not “spoil” your baby  
  • Breastfed babies cannot be overfed or “spoiled” by frequent feeding!  
  • You will not “make a rod for your own back” by being responsive to your baby’s behaviour