The special relationship between you and your baby

​NHS Lothian supports parents to build close and loving relationships with their babies. No matter how you feed your baby, you can use feeding time to bond with your baby.

The Building a Happy Baby leaflet describes how you can build your special relationship with your baby.

During pregnancy: Parents are encouraged to relax and take time to talk to their developing baby. You can help your baby's development during pregnancy by taking time to talk to it, stroke your baby bump and by playing music. Playing music you like not only makes you feel good but also transfers that feeling to baby.
When you are pregnant your baby's brain is slowly developing and once your baby is born it will continue to grow quickly. Your baby's brain develops after birth as a result of interaction with their mums, dads, families,carers and the environment around them By the time your baby is one year old their brain will have developed 70% of its wiring for the future. By the time your baby is three, 90% of that wiring will be in place (Unicef).
The below picture shows the growing neural connections in your babies brain;
 UNICEF, 2012
At birth: Where possible, the baby is dried and placed onto mum's chest to be held in skin to skin contact. This contact allows baby to adapt to being outside the womb but with the familiar sound of mum's heartbeat, voice, smell and warmth from her body. Keeping the baby in skin contact for its first feed, no matter what method mum chooses, helps promote closeness and bonding. This is a precious time and our aim would be for parents to use this time to get to know their baby as a family.
In the early days: Keep your baby close to recognise the signs they are hungry or need a cuddle. Responding to these signs will make your baby feel safe. Cuddling your baby next to your skin lets your baby hear your heartbeat which will comfort and calm them.
Feed your baby when he shows signs of being hungry. Look out for cues (moving head and moth around, sucking on fingers). This is known as responsive feeding and the principles remain the same no matter the feeding method. Crying is the last sign of baby wanting a feed so wherever possible try and you’re your baby before they start to cry. Young babies are not capable of learning a routine so responding to their cues for feeding and comfort makes babies feel more secure. Feeding your baby is a special time between mother and baby. If bottle feeding it is important to limit the number of people feeding the baby to the mother and her partner so that they can bond and form a close loving relationship.
 Baby I Love You - This is a special baby book for all new babies and families in Scotland from UNICEF. It comes wrapped like a gift, you will receive this from your health visitor. Reading the book to your babywill help you to get to know him/her and form a realy special bond.
Ongoing support is available from your Health Visiting Team. The team supports parents to continue to develop their parenting skills and offers advice on many subjects including child development, feeding and weaning. The Health visiting Team can also signpost parents to what’s available in their local area e.g. Support Groups, Peer Support.
Dads2be is a 4 week course for expectant dads throughout Lothian. The hands-on course during pregnancy will cover supporting labour & birth, baby care, bathing, changing, handling: why babies cry: early days, postnatal depression, baby brain development and more! Ask your midwife for more information.


Last Reviewed: 05/05/2017