Ask the Mamas: Bonding with Baby

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, kids, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the mamas? If so, send us an email with your question to Ask the Mamas: Bonding with Baby

Mama Say What?! Reader Summer O. asks, “I’m a first time mommy-to-be and all I hear is how it’s love at first sight with your baby. But what if that doesn’t happen?! Has anyone experienced that?!”

With Mae, my oldest, she was a c-section. I didn’t feel like I really processed birthing her. I remember being handed her and thinking, “Um, ok. Now what?” I even have a pic of me looking like that. I didn’t have any idea how to take care of a newborn and it was my husband who taught me how to be a mother. ~Cassie S.

I think this hits the nail on the head for a LOT of women. I mentioned it in my Top 10 Postpartum Warnings (#7). ~Laura K.

It took me a while to feel that bond with my daughter…maybe two weeks? I felt like I was given a little stranger with a cone head (I had a vaginal birth with an epidural and no traumas to her or myself). I still thought she was an absolute miracle and the most beautiful baby in the world, but it was almost as if I was watching myself interact with her from out side of my own body. Those first few weeks I mothered on pure instinct; the feeding, bathing, snuggling and learning her cries. But soon I began to love her for the tiny little person she was, and not as the little stranger I had given birth to! ~Michelle W.

My husband and I were so exhausted from the long birthing process and trying to stop M from crying constantly. We had the nurses keep M at night in the hospital and we were relieved to have several hours of peace and sleep. I wondered if I would ever be able to breastfeed or calm my baby, which made me worry about our bond. Luckily my husband is a baby whisperer and he helped me find that loving bond I was longing for. It would have taken me longer without his help. ~Sarah K.

I honestly think this is one of those first-time mama things that no one really talks about… fearing judgment if you didn’t bond with your baby right away. In reality, I think more mamas experience this delay than are willing to admit it.

TJ’s birth was textbook (vaginal, no meds, no complications) and I distinctly remember thinking to myself when I was holding him, minutes after his birth, “where is that rush of emotion I’m supposed to be feeling?” For the first few days, I felt like I was babysitting him and that there was no way he could actually be mine. It was bizarre and a little scary. I questioned everything I did. My husband changed 90% of his diapers for the first few days, I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I’m not exactly sure when I really bonded with him. But I for sure knew he was MINE when I had to leave him in the NICU when he was seven days old. He was MY baby and I was an emotional, hormonal wreck leaving him with strangers in the isolette. When he got home, we vegged on the couch, skin to skin, for what felt like a solid week. There was no question after that, and no more babysitting.

When M was born last year, I still didn’t have that flood of emotion right after he was born. Funny enough, I felt it after I was reunited with him after about an hour when I had to take an ambulance ride to the hospital. I snuggled with him in the ER, skin to skin, and we bonded then. ~Alex T.

Image by Earthside Birth Photography

This was me for sure. It took several weeks for me to feel that overwhelming feeling of love and protection- especially with my first. I remember talking with my mom about it, because she always described that moment after birth like all the pain just went away and you instantly fell in love. And that wasn’t really the case for me. ~Jessica S.

I felt like I was babysitting N off and on for over a month. Kept waiting for the parents to come get him. I was so dosed up when N was born (c-section and Demerol that I was never asked if I wanted), that I don’t remember most of that first day, including breastfeeding for the first time. I don’t remember when it happened, but it was within the first week. ~Cari H.

YES! I felt horrible about this at the time, but when my son was born I felt like he was a total stranger and had sort of interrupted our life as a family of three (my daughter turned two just two weeks after he was born). I loved him but not in that instant, head-over-heels way I had felt with my daughter. The instant I saw her I was in love. I couldn’t stop staring at her. With my son, I kept staring at him thinking, “Who is this guy?” He didn’t look like anything I expected him to (I guess I expected him to look like his sister…stupid, I know, but there you have it). He was also super colicky and the first few weeks were tough as I was home alone with him and his sister without help (daddy was at work or school and my mom was out of town). Around 6 weeks we settled into a new normal as a family of four and it was then that I really fell in love with my little guy and got to know him. And it’s been love ever since… we have a special bond and he’s definitely my velcro boy. I cannot imagine my life without him and it’s hard, sometimes, to remember life before him. But yeah, those first hours, days and weeks I definitely didn’t feel this way. I was on autopilot, caring for his needs, holding him, everything you’re supposed to do but it did feel a bit like babysitting someone else’s newborn. ~Lori W.

How long did it take before you felt an emotional bond with your baby(s)? Was in the flood of emotion we’re led to believe should happen immediately after birth? Or did it take a little while?

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