Pay Attention to Cues from Your Baby
One of the best ways to know if you’ve bonded with your newborn is to pay close attention to the cues they give you. Babies who feel a strong attachment will react positively when you enter the room or pick them up. Signs your baby is bonded with you include:
- Brightening up, turning towards you, and becoming more alert when you approach
- Calming down when held by you
- Cuddling into you and molding their body to yours
- Gazing into your eyes
- Cooing, babbling, or smiling when interacting with you
If your baby consistently reacts to you in these ways, it’s a good indication they feel safe, secure, and attached. Your bond is strengthening.
Notice if Your Baby is Soothed by Your Voice and Touch
Babies also show signs of bonding by how they respond to your voice and touch. If your baby stops crying when you enter the room or pick them up, it shows your presence makes them feel better. They associate your voice and touch with comfort.
You can try gently talking or singing to your baby when they are upset. If the sound of your voice has a calming effect, it’s a clue you two have bonded. Your baby finds security with you.
Additionally, your touch can be soothing. Many babies love skin-to-skin contact with their parent’s chest. The warmth and physical closeness is relaxing. If your baby drifts off while snuggled against your chest, it is a sign of trust and attachment.
Your Baby Knows Your Face and Scent
As the bond grows, your baby will show recognition of you as their primary caretaker. Healthy bonding means your little one knows your face and associates your scent with safety and caregiving.
Signs your baby recognizes you include:
- Turning their head automatically in your direction when you speak
- Becoming more alert and active when placed next to you
- Rooting and searching for you when hungry or needing comfort
Take note if your baby seems most comforted and secure in your arms versus other people’s. This selectivity indicates they see you as their safe space.
Your Baby May Cry When Separated from You
Separation anxiety is common in babies around 6-9 months as social awareness increases. Your baby realizes when you are gone and objects! While upsetting in the moment, separation anxiety represents an important milestone. It shows your baby understands their primary attachment figure is you.
At this stage, your little one may:
- Get upset when you leave the room or pass them to someone else
- Cry inconsolably until you return
- Cling to you more tightly
While difficult, this phase is temporary. It indicates your baby has bonded and feels secure with you. They will outgrow intense separation anxiety as they gain greater independence.
You Feel a Strong Connection Too
The parent-child bond is a two-way street. Pay attention to your own feelings as well. If you:
- Feel overwhelmingly loving and protective toward your baby
- Miss your baby when apart
- Delight in your baby’s smiles, coos, and new milestones
- Feel proud and experience deep joy caring for your little one
Then you have likely forged a deep bond as well. That intuitive, emotional connection allows you to understand your baby’s needs and cues. In tandem with your baby’s signs of attachment, these feelings signal a strong foundation.
Make Bonding a Priority in Those Early Weeks
The bonding process starts immediately but deepens over the first weeks and months of your baby’s life. To help it along:
- Get in lots of skin-to-skin contact and eye gazing
- Keep your baby close rather than using nurseries or separate rooms
- Respond sensitively when your baby cries
- Speak and sing to your baby frequently
- Allow others to help with chores so you can focus on connecting
The more consistently and sensitively you care for and interact with your newborn, the stronger your lifelong parent-child bond will become. Pay close attention to the cues, soak up the sweet moments, and enjoy getting to know your little one.
Seek Help if You’re Concerned About Bonding
If your baby is several weeks or months old and doesn’t show signs of attachment, speak with your pediatrician. In some cases, postpartum depression in the mother can make it harder to bond. Various counseling options and support groups are available as well.
With time, support, and loving care, nearly all parents and babies develop a close connection. Have patience with yourself and your little one. Stay responsive to your baby’s needs, and your relationship will continue blossoming in profound ways.