12 Ways To Connect With Your Newborn Baby

post partum depression therapist

12 Ways To Connect With Your Newborn Baby

Tips To Help Mothers Struggling With Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

You spent the last nine months imagining this moment…the moment you would hold your baby in your arms and fall in love with them more and more every minute. Instead, you’re suddenly overwhelmed with new and unexpected feelings. You weren’t expecting to need a postpartum depression therapist, but now, all of a sudden, you are questioning everything.

“Aren’t you just on cloud nine?” they ask. You smile and nod, but you think cloud nine seems like a million miles away.

“Isn’t motherhood beautiful?” Another smile and nod, but actually, right now, you feel like it is horrible and terrifying.

“Aren’t you just in love with that sweet face?” More smiling and nodding, but deep down you are drowning with worry that your love just isn’t quite enough.

If you just gave birth and are struggling with low mood, there is a way out. Adjusting to a new baby can be stressful and there are significant hormonal changes that contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety, worthlessness, or guilt.

You are not alone.

Many wonderful mothers have overcome these difficult beginnings, and you can too. The secret is to connect–connect with your baby, yourself, your partner, and others. In this post, we’ll focus on your connection with baby, but you can explore future posts which will focus on connections with yourself, your partner, and others. If you want to learn more about forging connections to combat these new, overwhelming emotions in your life, don’t hesitate to reach out.

How To Connect With Your Newborn Baby

When postpartum depression or anxiety grips you, bonding with your baby can be difficult. This is not your fault, and you can take steps to begin increasing your connection. In fact, enhancing the connection with your baby releases the hormone oxytocin which likely will contribute to an elevation in your mood.

So how do you connect? All humans, babies included, experience the world through the rich contributions of each of our five senses. Try a full-sensory approach to bonding with your baby.

1. Snuggle.

Snuggle up with your baby and feel his/her warmth. Put distractions aside and really be present to this moment.

2. Skin-to-skin contact.

You may have been encouraged to use skin-to-skin contact at the hospital, but you can continue this at home too. Place your bare baby on your bare chest and have a nice long snuggle.

3. Give baby a massage.

Massage your baby from head to toe! This, of course, will feel wonderful to baby, but this is also an opportunity for you to try a gratitude exercise. As you massage baby, tune in to a sense of gratitude for the miracle of your baby’s body. Massage those tiny little toes–counting and admiring each and every wiggly one. Massage baby’s arms, legs, tummy, back, and scalp. Softly stroke baby’s cheeks and lips.

4. Listen to baby’s heartbeat.

Remember when you first heard your baby’s heartbeat in the OB’s office? Now you can place your ear right on baby’s chest and listen to the steady, strong beat of their walnut-sized heart! Isn’t amazing that this heart knows just what to do to sustain baby’s life?

5. Listen to baby’s breath.

Put your ear close to baby’s mouth and listen to the exhalation of each soft breath. Watch baby’s tiny chest rise and fall and imagine the complexity of baby’s lungs that work without effort or thought.

6. Gaze into baby’s eyes.

Look into your baby’s eyes. They say the eyes are the windows to our souls, and babies seem to instinctively know this. Sharing mutual gaze promotes attachment, and babies love to study their mommy’s face!

7. Smile with your baby.

Babies have reflexive smiles at first, but between the ages of 6-12 weeks, they smile for real! Hold your baby close and smile at him/her. This action actually is beneficial to your mood too because smiling (contracting the facial muscles) actually releases a neurotransmitter, dopamine, which can elevate your mood.

8. Talk to your baby.

Talk to your baby, and don’t worry about whether they understand a word you are saying. Baby has listened to the rhythm of your voice for nine months in the womb and finds great comfort in the sound of your words. When they coo, imitated their sounds. These are some of your first “conversations!”

9. Sing to your baby.

Try singing to your baby, and what is better than the sound of their mommy singing? And if you think you have a terrible singing voice, good news–babies don’t judge! Who knows, this just may lift your mood as well.

10. Rock your baby.

Snuggle up and give you baby a nice, long rock. Rhythm is innately soothing to baby and is also calming for you if you are feeling stressed, low, anxious, or tired.

11. Smell your baby.

Yes, smell your baby! Someday someone will make millions if they could bottle up the sweet smell of baby’s breath. Not surprising that a delicate, wispy flower was named after this intoxicating fragrance! And guess what? If you are that close, baby is smelling you too!

12. Kiss your baby.

Last, but not least, kiss your baby! On the cheek, on the toes, on each finger, and on top of that soft, fuzzy head. Have you ever felt anything as soft as your baby’s skin? You can never give too many kisses!

Do you need a postpartum depression therapist?

Postpartum depression and anxiety is a much bigger picture than just connecting with baby. Many mothers struggle with this issue, but it often goes undiagnosed because it can be difficult to talk about. The most important thing is to reach out. You aren’t alone, and you don’t have to walk this road on your own. Connecting with a therapist can make all the difference, and North Star Therapy is here to help.

Ask Ruth About Postpartum Depression or Anxiety