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Bonding with Your Baby: How to Build a Relationship During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman is sitting on a couch holding her belly

Pregnancy can be a confusing mix of emotions for many women. If your pregnancy was unplanned you may feel stressed, confused, or even resentful. Even if you planned your pregnancy you may feel unwell or overwhelmed. These negative emotions can often be mixed in with positive emotions. You may also feel happy, content, and optimistic about the future. There may even be days when you feel all of these emotions at once!

Even if you’re unsure about what to do regarding your pregnancy, it is important to know that you are carrying a unique human person inside of you. Because of this, it is possible to start mother-baby bonding right away. Even if you’re trying not to think about your pregnancy as a baby or a person, your body is releasing hormones that assist you in feeling maternal and protective towards this child. Research shows that the amount of oxytocin (a bonding hormone) can actually predict how maternal a woman will feel and behave after the baby is born.

Are you concerned about forming a strong bond with your baby? Perhaps you felt angry about the pregnancy, or you feel so sick you’re worried you won’t love your baby. Try not to worry! Having mixed feelings about your pregnancy doesn’t mean you won’t love your baby or bond well.

If you want to, you can focus on doing things that will increase your bond with your baby. These things don’t need to be complicated or difficult, they can be easy and can end up being very special times for you during your pregnancy. What are some things you can do?

Sing to Your Baby

Even before your baby can hear you, which usually happens around 18 weeks, you can bond with your baby by singing or talking to him or her. Remember, bonding is a two-way street! Even if the talking or singing can’t be heard by your baby it is good for you!

Think About Your Baby

Are you unsure about continuing your pregnancy? Think about your future in five or even ten years. What will it look like to have this baby? Will some of your circumstances have been resolved by then? Are your fears rooted in reality, or are they hard to define? Pregnancy can be a stressful time, but many stresses are happening in the moment. By thinking about your future with your baby you may find many of the things you’re worried about now seem much smaller. 

Purchase Items for Your Baby

Pregnant mother sitting beside folded newborn clothes and baby accessories

Sometimes, having a small item to hang onto during the difficult moments of pregnancy can help you focus on what you’re working towards – a healthy baby! If you visited a pregnancy center, they may have given you a baby blanket or booties. You can put this somewhere you can see it when you’re feeling down or overwhelmed. If you don’t have anything yet, you can visit a store or even a thrift shop to purchase something small. 

Create for Your Baby

Are you artistic? Do you like to crochet? Do you enjoy writing poetry or prose? Spend some time creating a work of art for your baby. This can be something you and your child treasure for years to come.

Take Time for Yourself

It can be easy to get swept up in doing for others around you. Take some time to go for a walk, take a bubble bath, or listen to music. When you’re calm and relaxed your baby can tell! Even if these activities are not designed with your baby in mind, they can help you feel more positive and optimistic about your pregnancy and life in general.

Touch Your Belly

Whether or not you can feel your baby kicking, you can touch and massage your belly. This will help you connect with the life inside of you and eventually will be two-way communication between you and your baby. This is one of the easiest ways to bond with your baby before they’re born. 

Have an Ultrasound

Pregnant mother undergoing an ultrasound

It can often be hard to think of your baby as a person. Having an early ultrasound is a great way to bond with your baby by seeing them and knowing that they are doing well and growing on track. You can get a free ultrasound at your local pregnancy center to confirm and date your pregnancy. Later, you will get them through your OB/GYN or at a facility that provides keepsake ultrasounds.

What’s the Point of Bonding with My Baby?

Perhaps you are considering an adoption plan, or maybe you’re not even sure you want to continue your pregnancy. What’s the point of bonding? If you’re planning to make an adoption plan, it is still important to bond with your baby. The nine months you spend with him or her are important for both of you! If you create a piece of art, or even choose a name, that can be something your baby holds on to always. If you reconnect with your baby later in life, you can share stories of late-night runs for a treat you’re craving, walks through your neighborhood, or music your baby seemed to enjoy.

If you’re not sure you want to continue with your pregnancy, you may feel that ignoring your baby is your best option. If you refuse to think about what is happening inside of your body you may feel it will make an abortion easier. 

It is important to realize that your body is designed to protect your baby and does that in part by bonding. If you are finding that you have to force yourself to ignore your baby or avoid thinking about the future, you may want to reconsider your choice to abort. Many women struggle with grief and regret after an abortion. They miss their babies and think of their abortion choice with sadness for decades to come.

A Bond That Can’t Be Broken 

Spend some time today with your baby. If you feel maternal instinct taking over, it’s ok to let it happen! People around you may have definite opinions about what you should do, but the choice is ultimately yours. Bonding with your baby can begin as soon as you find out you’re pregnant and continue for the rest of your life. Try these tips and begin today!

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