Bonding is the very strong attachment that develops between parents and their baby. While most infants are ready to bond immediately and many parents feel the attachment within the first minutes or days after their baby's birth, other parents have a difficult time and the bonding process takes longer.
While bonding for some parents and their child takes place almost immediately, for others bonding is a result of everyday care giving.
Bonding may be delayed for various reasons. Sometimes a woman has difficulty bonding because of hormonal imbalance and sometimes due to postpartum depression. Bonding may also be delayed if a birth mother is exhausted and in pain following a long and difficult labor and delivery.
Another potential problem is that some parents have a mental picture of their baby as having certain physical and personality traits which may not be consistent with the reality of the child. These parents may have trouble adjusting their expectations.
If you or your baby have labor or delivery complications, the bonding process may be altered especially if you or your baby need to spend time in intensive care.
For birth mothers and birth fathers who are placing their child for adoption, the bonding process is different and the birth mother and birth father will want to discuss this with their adoption agency. Adoptive parents may be concerned about bonding with their baby. Although it may happen sooner for some than others, adopted babies and their parents have the opportunity to bond just as well as biological parents and their children.
Remember that for many parents bonding is a complex process that takes time. There is no "one type fits all" path to bonding. As long as a baby's basic needs are being met, he or she will not suffer if the bond is not strong at first. If you do not feel that you are bonding by the time you take your baby to the first or second post-delivery office visit, make sure to discuss your concerns with your health care provider.
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