Holding Baby Close
A sling allows your baby to fold up as she was in utero. This feels good to your baby for several weeks after birth. Wearing a sling or front pack with your baby will increase the bond you and your baby feel toward each other. She will get to know your smell, voice, and movements. She will feel your hand patting or rubbing her. You can pick up on your baby's cues more quickly, too, if you and your baby are so close. (And imagine how much faster you'll sense a dirty diaper if your baby is next to you rather than across the room or in a stroller!)
By engaging in these activities, your baby's brain will learn when it is bedtime, play time, talking time. Not only will she get closer to you, but she will learn about communication, in both verbal and physical ways. Start these activities on the very first day of your baby's life—you can't start too soon! Neurons in her brain are connecting every time you repeat these activities with your baby, making the transition to the next baby milestones quicker and easier.
Here's one last thing that will help you bond with your baby, and though it may sound contradictory to our previous advice, it truly isn't: get some rest. An overtired, recovering mom isn't what you want to be. Motherhood is hard; it requires a lot of thinking and energy! To handle both of these things adequately, you need sleep. Ask for help! Grandmas, aunts, cousins, and friends will love playing or holding your baby while you take a nap or rest.
Baby Trevor's mom knew she was too tired and was beginning to feel frantic as night fell. She dreaded another all-nighter. She began to cry and feel like her life was going to be endless days followed by endless nights of crying, feeding, and diaper changes. Luckily, her next-door neighbor was home and had volunteered previously to take care of the baby. At 10:30 that night, Mom handed off her baby, along with a loaded diaper bag and a bottle of breast milk, to a well-rested, trusted friend. Mom slept deeply for five to six hours and woke up ready for another day with baby. Mom was happy and refreshed—the best kind of mom to be!