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Bonding with your child

Your baby’s brain does more developing in the first two years of life than it will at any other period and this is a key time to build a positive relationship with them.

The early interactions between you and your baby directly affect the way his brain becomes wired and the type of person he will go on to become.

Attachment is the deep and lasting connection established between a child and caregiver in the first few years of life. It profoundly affects your child's development and his confidence, resilience, and social skills.

Research has proven that building a secure attachment bond with your baby forms the foundation for emotional and social well being throughout life. It also impacts upon physical health, language and learning.

Secure attachment develops from your ability to understand and respond to your baby's cues, and successfully soothe him. It doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing partnership between you and your baby. As time goes on, it will become easier to understand the cries, interpret the signals, and respond to your baby’s needs for food, rest, love, and comfort – try to be patient with yourself and your baby as you learn about each other.

Baby says I need you to:

  • look at me – I will make eye contact to try and engage you
  • listen to me – understand what I am trying to tell you
  • respond to me – with smiles, warmth and affection
  • understand me – know when I’ve had enough stimulation and just need a rest
  • soothe me – quickly and calmly when I am upset
  • cuddle me – make skin to skin contact with me when you can
  • talk to me – and respond back to me when I try to talk to you
  • sing to me – from nursery rhymes to pop songs, I just like to hear your voice
  • play with me – it’s how I learn
  • read to me – share simple picture books and tell me the names of things in them
  • protect me – from emotional harm as well as physical harm.

Are you having difficulty bonding with baby?

Being a new parent is exhausting and it is normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed at times. If, however, after a few weeks you don't feel more bonded and comfortable with your baby, or if you feel detached and resentful of him, it may be that you are suffering from post natal depression. It's best to seek help as soon as possible from your Health Visitor or GP.


Never worry that you will ‘spoil’ your baby by comforting him when he cries. Research shows that it is not good for babies to be left to cry alone for long periods. In fact, studies show that babies who are soothed when distressed tend to cry less, not more. This is because responding to a baby’s needs makes him feel safe and secure.