Breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your newborn—but if you're formula-feeding, don't fret. Bottle-time can be just as powerful an opportunity for the two of you to connect and come closer together.
Clinical psychologist Shoshana Bennett, PhD, says bonding is a process of familiarity–getting to know each other—that happens over time, and can be fostered no matter how baby is fed. So how do you go about nurturing that close connection? Check out these tips for bonding while bottle-feeding.
• Don’t multi-task. Give baby your full attention while she feeds, and don't rush her to finish. Let her enjoy the pleasures of snuggling with her favorite person (you), and let yourself savor this precious time too.
• Get close. Try taking off or unbuttoning your shirt—babies love that skin-to-skin connection. Also, try to maintain eye contact. It’s easier to make great eye contact with baby while bottle-feeding than while breastfeeding, so take advantage of it. Physical and visual connections have actually been linked to optimum brain development.
• Switch midway. Move baby to your other arm halfway through the bottle. Giving him a different perspective on the world provides visual stimulation and encourages development and curiosity. (Plus, it gives your shoulder a break.)
• Don’t prop. It may save you a few minutes, but propping baby up with a bottle wastes potential bonding time. It also increases her risk of choking, ear infections and tooth decay.
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