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Share the Moments that Matter
‘Share the Moments that Matter’ is brought to you by celebrity parents Izzy and Harry Judd alongside their recent addition, baby Lockie.
Working with Aptamil Advanced Follow On Milk, the Judd family are highlighting the importance of building a bond with your baby and showcasing the special moments that bring joy to both parents when the feeding journey is shared.
10 Tips to improve bonding with baby from Psychologist Emma Kenny
Emma Kenny is a psychologist, TV presenter and writer, and is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading TV psychological experts. Emma often writes about child and infant psychology in publications and across her own channels.
1. Practice Mindful feeding
Mindful feeding creates a much-needed pause for you and your baby. These days, parents are busier than ever, and this makes those meaningful moments together even more precious. When you feed your baby, you are presented with a perfect opportunity to fully focus on their needs whilst enjoying a serene space as parent and child, together. Mindful feeding allows you to fully experience the here and now whilst you enjoy the wonder of your baby.
2. Developing a secure attachment
Giving your baby lots of attention from the moment that you hold them in your arms, is key to developing secure attachment1. This type of attachment is important, as it will help your child form positive and safe relationships as they grow up. You can foster secure attachment by attending to your baby when they are crying, feeding them when they are hungry and taking the time to cuddle and play together. All these small, yet important, moments will help towards building that positive connection between you both.
3. Building bonds with skin-to-skin contact
Placing your baby skin-to-skin on your body whilst feeding has been scientifically proven to be one of the best things you can do to build your bond and connection2. To reap the multiple benefits of this bonding technique, ensure you’re fully immersed in this special moment with baby by avoiding all distractions. Turn off the TV, switch your phone to silent and focus on the amazing relationship you’re growing with your baby. The joint attention that is fostered when you gaze into one another’s eyes is also believed to strengthen communication between parent and baby – this is something that is simple, yet effective, and can be done daily as part of your usual routine. Sharing in these small moments with baby really matter in aiding that long-term relationship you’re working to build between you.
4. Mirror their actions
Bonding between you and your baby strengthens with every positive interaction3. This means that every moment between the two of you has a bounty of bonding potential. Baby loves to have you mirror their verbal and facial expressions, so try to do this whenever you have the opportunity - particularly when feeding as you have that intimate one-on-one time together. When feeding, follow baby’s eyes and mimic the noises they make, so that they can understand that you are completely focused on them.
5. Engage with your baby's behaviour
Although your baby is non-verbal, they still know exactly what they want and are trying to communicate this to you via any means possible. The key to being able to develop your connection with baby is to focus on what they’re trying to tell you – and meet their need. Babies try to convey their needs through pointing at objects, smiling in agreement, or squealing in excitement when you react how they desire. When you engage with these behaviours, your baby receives important feedback on both an emotional and social level, which lets them know that you are a constant source of connection and foundation of their security.
6. Empathise with their feelings
Bring different emotions into baby’s consciousness by suggesting ‘feeling’ words that appear to fit their reactions. Empathising with both their good and bad emotional states is excellent for bonding and means that, from the very beginning, you’re teaching your child that you care deeply for them, and that their emotional needs matter. For example, when they giggle, smile, and say, ‘I love the sound of your laughter, are you finding this funny?’
7. Feel relaxed when feeding
Babies pick up on their parent’s feelings, and when they sense that you are happy, or in a positive mood their pupils dilate becoming larger. This means that they are absorbing their surroundings, and the way people feel within them, all the time. When feeding, make sure that you take a moment to compose yourself by taking a few deep breaths, so you feel relaxed and at peace and in turn your baby feels fully at ease4.
8. Pay attention to hunger signs
Even though your baby cannot tell you that they are hungry verbally, their body language is full of helpful information that can draw your attention to when they want to feed. Signs to look out for may include baby making a sucking noise, placing their hand in their mouth, or sucking on their hands. Baby may also find comfort in snuggling into your chest and moving into the position you usually feed them in, to alert you that they are hungry. By recognising these signs, you will be able to meet your babies needs before they become distressed and reinforce those positive connections you’re building together.
9. Soothe your baby with lullabies
You may like to sing lullabies to your baby when you are feeding them as this type of interaction will soothe baby, promote bonding, and help them to develop those all-important listening skills that they will need as they grow up5. The positivity and calmness in your own voice when you sing to your baby is perfect for helping them feel calm themselves and soothed when in your presence.
10. Keep talking
Some parents may find it helpful to talk to your baby, as this has a direct, and indirect, influence on their language development. The more you chat away to your child, the better their grasp will be with their language and vocabulary development. Whilst you are feeding your baby, chat about your day, make up a story to tell them, or go through the alphabet thinking of animals that begin with each letter. These fun interactions aren’t just enjoyable, they aid brain development6. For those parents who don’t wish to chat, singing calming lullabies, as in the point above, is still a great way to still encourage learning.
- Le Blanc et al. 2017. Attachment Security in Infancy: A Preliminary Study of Prospective Links to Brain Morphometry in Late Childhood.
- Widstrom et al. 2016. Skin‐to‐Skin Contact the First Hour After Birth, Underlying Implications and Clinical Practice. Doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003519. Available at: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003519.pub4/full
- Winston & Chilcot. The Importance of Early Bonding on the Long-term Mental Health and Resilience of Children.
- Geangu et al. 2011. Infant Pupil Diameter Changes in Response to Others' Positive and Negative Emotions.
- Weisleder & Fernald. 2013. Talking to Children Matters: Early Language Experience Strengthens Processing and Builds Vocabulary.
Breastfeeding is best
Follow-on milk should only be used as part of a mixed diet and not as a breastmilk substitute before 6 months. Use on the advice of a healthcare professional.
Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.