4. Get kneady. "Bonding becomes stronger as love is exchanged and communicated through touch," says Elaine Stillerman, a massage therapist and author of Prenatal Massage (Mosby, 2006). You start to understand your baby's individual sounds and feelings, what she likes and what feels uncomfortable, she says. Mom and Dad can both enjoy this form of bonding. Try massaging baby's head, feet, and back to find what soothes your infant.
Warm a few drops of baby lotion or oil by rubbing it between your hands, and then employ some gentle, rhythmic strokes and caresses. Even a brief massage session -- during which your baby looks at you and is soothed by your touch -- can help you feel more confident and connected. "When my kids are sitting next to me on the couch, I'll lightly massage their upper earlobes," says Kevin Daley, of East Hampton, Connecticut. "It's soothing for them, and it's a bonding moment."