By Lisa Rafel and David Surrenda, Ph.D.
T. Berry Brazelton M.D., a leader in the field of child development says that bonding is like falling in love, and attachment is about staying in love. The parent bonds, the baby attaches. However, in order to do that, parents need to be in touch with their own feelings so that they can share those loving feelings with their newborn.
Feelings of bonding and attachment are soft and intimate. Imagine a warm breeze on your face that makes you smile. Then imagine how wonderful that feels on your skin and let your body relax and rest in that feeling. It is quite amazing how thoughts can impact inner relaxation.
Often parents will hear that loving your child is easy. However, the stresses of modern life can make the demands of a newborn very challenging. That is why it is so important to nurture yourself to ensure a loving bond.
These are some suggestions for ways to self-nurture that will support your bonding with your baby.
1. Working with the power of sound.
- Listen to music -- Especially designed calming music can lower blood pressure and create a gentle inner experience that is very conducive to self-reflection and renewal. Any music, instrumental and/or vocal that will support you to feel calm is helpful.
- Create your own music -- Singing, sounding, chanting or playing instruments stimulates the breath and creates a vibration in the body that feels good.
2. Working with the power of your mind. Thinking inspiring thoughts.
- Visualizing a favorite place to rest or a quiet environment will calm you.
- Thinking kind and loving thoughts awakens your heart energy and stimulates a relaxed and expansive feeling in your body.
3. Working with the power of your body.
- Choosing physical non-impact exercises like swimming or dancing that require you to breathe deeply is aligning and relaxing.
- Classic movement practices like Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong and movement meditation also utilize intentionality and breath.
4. Working with the power of the elements.
- Take a warm bath - either with or without a calming aroma (for example, lavender).
- Light a candle and watch the beauty of the flame.
- Work in the garden.
- Observe the wind in the trees or enjoy the clouds.
5. Working with the power of your environment.
- Choose to be in nature. Being in nature reveals how there is a connection between everything that is alive. We breathe the air that comes from the plants and trees. They live on from our exhale. Thoughts that contain an appreciation of all forms of life are profoundly nurturing.
- Choose to create a quiet retreat space in your home
6. Working with the power of relationships.
- Be interactive in a loving way. Imagine that you can send a ray of love from your chest to your baby. Both you and your baby will be nurtured by this love. Have the father, caregiver or co-parent do this too.
- Be kind to your partner and discover the rewards of openhearted kindness.
When a parent can find an oasis for their mind and heart to relax, those good feelings of loving self-care create a vibration that helps the baby feel secure, calm and loved.
How a parent loves teaches their child to love. Giving love to your baby and to yourself nurtures the kindest and strongest aspect of you. This kind of nurturing deepens the love that each of you will feel and provides a true impact that will last a lifetime.
©2011 Lisa Rafel
Published in Pregnancy Awareness Month's Nurture Themed Week Online Newsletter.