Many women do not really appreciate the immense importance of bonding with their newborn. This is forgiveable and quite understandable, of course. In all the excitement, tension and commotion of a child birth, the newcomer is cooed over, admired and passed from hand to hand, leaving little time for the mother to have some peaceful time with the child she has carried in her womb for nine months.
But it must take place, even if delayed, for it forms a strong foundation of the emotional and mental well-being of the little one. Bonding is a strong special attachment which nourishes a relationship between a newborn and its parents, it means that it sends the latter flying to the crib when the occupant cries or shows any little sign of distress or grief. Bonding is an instinctive emotion in the parent which promises to care and nourish their young one.
A research conducted on parenting claims, “strong emotional attachment between mother and her baby may help prevent diseases, boost immunity and enhance a child’s IQ.” Very impressive, indeed.
But does mother-child bonding happen spontaneously? Unfortunately, not always.
Last month when I dropped in at Charu’s to see her infant son, I was mesmerised by the beautiful picture she presented as she sat placidly, cradling the child in her arms. Her cheek rested on his, and a tiny hand clutched her little finger. Madonna and child, I thought to myself. Bonding was taking place splendidly here….
Yesterday when I visited my cousin and her infant daughter, I found the mother quite distract. The baby was howling away in the nurse’s arms, and Shweta, I could see was near tears.
“I just don’t seem to be getting it right,” she wailed.” This baby of mine seems like a stranger to me, although I carried her for a full nine months…
“You know, she seems to love my mom more than me! And, the worst part is I really don’t feel any of those legendary mother-love emotions welling up inside me ! Right now, I just want to catch up on my lost sleep only if she would stop yelling!”
I looked at her dubiously.” Why don’t you cuddle her, Shweta? Maybe, she will feel comforted and fall asleep then?”
“I have tried, it does not work, and I do not even seem to be producing milk enough to feed her.”
I came away from the visit much wiser. I realised that mother- love and bonding is not a spontaneous emotion for most mothers. In fact, nowadays, it is pretty much absent, according to a child- specialist friend of mine.
The reasons, she says, are obvious. Today’s mothers are hard pressed for time, stressed, impatient and discontented. They are not just wives and mothers, they are high-profile office- going people, with heads full of professional issues. How can we expect them to devote bonding time to their newborns?
There are some common factors which make bonding difficult and even impossible for some mothers and babies.
If the woman has had a painful labour or a C-section, she may not be able to hold or nurse the little one for some time. Also, her own pain and exhaustion of childbirth may not encourage her to focus on the newborn.
Premature, under-weight babies who have to be kept in neonatal intensive care for sometimes months too, could be deprived of the chances of getting to know their mothers. Bonding is, consequently, delayed in these instances as well.
If the mother had longed for a daughter and a fourth son is born, she may too not feel much love for him! Although later on, he may turn out to be her favourite child but the early, vital mother-child bonding could be absent. Bonding takes time for some people, while for others this could be immediate. Never feel guilty though, but simply make some efforts to create that beautiful relationship with your child.