Your Feelings Explained
Just how common is Danforth's delayed bonding response? Much more than you might think -- or moms want to admit. "Having a baby is an exhausting experience," says Ari Brown, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and coauthor of Baby 411 (Windsor Peak). "New moms have to cope with sleep deprivation, physical trauma from delivery, and a hormonal roller coaster." What's more, new moms have demanding feeding schedules to adapt to as well as other new-mom stresses. "It's no wonder that moms may have trouble relaxing and enjoying their newborns!" says Dr. Brown.
As in Danforth's case, the time you spend caring for your baby helps create chemistry and cements your bond. "The spell that makes parents think they have the most beautiful baby in the world grows stronger with each experience they share," says Dr. Brown. And don't worry: Your delayed bonding response isn't going to irreparably harm your baby. In fact, "bonding is a long, slow process for babies, too," says Josef Burton, MD, a New Milford, Connecticut-based pediatrician. Your attachment for each other will grow over the days and weeks with each diaper change, feeding, and rocking, and as your baby realizes she can count on you more than anyone else in the world. In the meantime, consider these tips to help you get connected.