Quality Bonding Time

While the movies depict an instant bond between parents and their baby, real-life families may not find bonding so easy. Liz Zack, Executive Editor of, has some tips for troubled moms and dads.

First and foremost, don't give up. "Bonding is sometimes instantaneous, but not always," says Zack. "If you've had a troubling birth, or if you have a sick baby or even if you have nursing problem, it can take a little... time."

To help move things along, Zack suggests skin therapy. "A 2005 Swedish study showed that if you hold your baby, just in his or her diaper, against your chest, you'll have better success with bonding... and nursing," says Zack. This technique is known as "kangaroo care" because it mimics a mother kangaroo holding her joey in her pouch.

Touch is a great way to bond, and babies can bond with their parents through baby massage as well. "How do you show someone that you love them? You touch them," says Zack. "You don't have to know any special techniques, just put some massage oil on your hands and kind of start kneading away." Try this when baby is calm, like after a bath or before bed.

Just holding your baby a certain way can help with bonding. "A study found that 66% of all caregivers actually hold their baby on the left side... It's thought that's because your heart is on the left side," says Zack. A heartbeat is very calming to a child, so holding them on the left side of your body may help them feel closer to you. If you want to energize them, however, try holding them on the right side of your body.

Breastfeeding is another great way to bond with your baby, even if it isn't always easy. "Just spending 12 minutes in a dark room with your baby is a wonderful bonding experience," says Zack. Also, nursing moms produce a certain hormone known as the "mothering hormone" that can help with bonding as well.

But Dad, don't feel left out. You can bond with your child too by giving them a bottle while Mom gets some much needed rest.

For more information on bonding with your baby, as well as other parenting tips, visit American Baby's website by clicking here.

By Erin Petrun