When you research “bonding with a newborn,” most articles speak to women who are stay at home parents or at the least, have a long maternity leave. However, there are growing numbers of mothers who do not live within either reality. These moms need to get back to work as soon as they can, and yet, like all mothers, they desire to be excellent mothers and want their babies to bond securely with them. Here are some common sense tips to bond with your newborn when you have to work.
Work Part-Time or Telecommute
You may not be able to take a full six to eight-week maternity leave, but perhaps you can arrange with your employer to work part-time for several weeks. Maybe you’ll work just three or four days a week, or perhaps you will just work mornings. Explore how much flexibility you can manage in the workplace. Also, see if your employer will allow you to work from home as much as possible. Even if it’s only one day or afternoon a week, being at home with your baby as much as possible will help with bonding. Reassure your boss that you don’t expect this arrangement to continue long-term. In several weeks, you’ll be glad to be back in the office as much as you were previously.
If part-time or telecommuting is not an option, ditch the mommy guilt. Guilty feelings will interfere with your bonding, since your child may perceive the negative feelings that you harbor. You want your interactions with your child to be positive, peaceful, and upbeat. You still can bond with baby even when you’re working full time.
Pay someone to do as much of your household work as you can. Many people pay someone to clean, but you can also pay someone to pick up dry cleaning, shop for groceries, manage your checkbook, care for your laundry, and do the dozens of other things that you probably do for yourself. This will free you up to do nothing but care for your baby when you’re not working.
Exercise With Baby
It may be a few weeks before you can hit the gym in the way that you did before pregnancy. That’s perfectly fine! Simply strap baby to your chest or wear him in a sling and go for a long walk. Cuddling baby close is a perfect way to bond. Your baby will learn your scent and the sound of your voice all while being securely held while you exercise. Even if you use a treadmill, you can do this with your baby in a sling.
If you’re a first time mommy, you are probably a little nervous about parenting and learning to care for a newborn. That’s okay. Parenting is one of the few places where you get points for trying, even if the results are not flawless. All moms make mistakes, but they learn from them and become better moms as a result. So try to relax.
Be Fully Present
Cell phones can tempt you to try to multitask, checking email or fielding calls while breastfeeding. When baby is awake and you’re doing hands-on care, like when feeding, resist the temptation to use your phone to catch up on work. Wait till baby is napping or quietly awake to handle work issues from home.
It’s tempting to hand a fussy baby over to your partner or nanny if you have pressing work beckoning. It may not seem that attempting to soothe an inconsolable baby accomplishes anything. However, bonding still happens even when baby is fussy. In fact, your child will associate you with someone who tries to comfort her when she’s upset if you keep trying when she cries. Bonding occurs during both the easy and hard moments.
It can be hard for driven, career women to let go of their perfectionistic tendencies when parenting, but you can’t be perfect in everything. Learn to relax into parenting and know that it will all be okay. Remember that there will never be a perfect situation for any mother and child, so make the best of the time that you have with your child. You can bond with her, even when you have to work.
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