I’ve heard nursing helps moms and babies bond, but I’m not
breastfeeding. Are there any ways to connect with my baby while I give her a
bottle? Absolutely. Clinical psychologist Shoshana Bennett, PhD, reminds moms
that bonding is a process of familiarity – getting to know each other — that
happens over time. And, wonderful
bonding can be facilitated no matter how your baby is fed. Here are some ways to make bottle-time a warm
and fuzzy experience for both of you.
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, and let yourself savor this precious time too. What
do you think is better for baby bonding – breastfeeding while you look away and
speak on the phone or bottle-feeding with your full attention on her?
Get close. If you’re in private, take off or unbutton your
shirt — babies love that skin-to-skin connection. Also, try to maintain eye
contact. It’s easier to make great eye
contact with your baby while bottle-feeding, so take advantage of it. In
addition, physical and visual connections are linked to optimum brain
Switch midway. Move baby to your other arm halfway through
the bottle. Giving her a different perspective on the world provides visual
stimulation and encourages development and curiosity. And 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. Share these tips with other caretakers
who feed, so they can also make the most of bottle-time.