Bonding with Your Baby

Kangaroo Care

5 Ideas for Bonding

1. Try kangaroo care. A stressful situation -- such as an unplanned c-section or nursing difficulties -- may contribute to feelings of being disconnected from your baby. Kangaroo care -- holding a baby who is clad only in a diaper next to your bare breast -- can help moms and babies bond.

Jennifer Pote, of New Preston, Connecticut, was introduced to this skin-to-skin contact early on after her son was rushed to another hospital for a respiratory problem at birth. "It was 36 hours until I could hold him," says Pote. "I didn't feel bonded to him right away." When they were eventually reunited, the neonatal intensive care unit suggested she try kangaroo care, which helped relieve tension in Pote and her son.

"When babies are sick, parents bond differently," says Krystyna Toczylowski, RN, of Hackensack Medical Center, in Hackensack, New Jersey. "Parents don't feel like real parents because the medical community is taking care of these babies," she says. Research rallies behind kangaroo care: A 2005 Swedish study shows skin-to-skin contact significantly increases one's success with bonding while also helping with breastfeeding and reducing stress.

Well babies, too, can benefit from kangaroo care. Try it if your baby is having trouble nursing or sleeping or is irritable. It takes 15 minutes for babies to begin reaping the benefits.

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