The first moments after the birth of your baby are wonderful for bonding with your newborn. Newborn infants are very alert during this first hour and are instinctively looking for food. Studies have been done where an infant is placed on Mother’s stomach immediately after birth. They then make their own way to the breast for their first meal.
Although much of the bonding process is instinctive and will happen naturally, it does not always happen immediately. When I was pregnant with my first child, I never felt that close bond I had heard about while I was carrying my daughter. It wasn’t until after she was born, and I got to hold her and kiss her that the bond began to form.
One thing is for sure, once the bond is there, it is impossible to break. The tie between mother and child is perhaps the strongest in existence between two people. So when it is time to separate from your child it can be extremely difficult for both of you.
Probably the first instance of necessary separation of mother and baby occurs when baby is ready to sleep alone. Giving the baby a bottle or pacifier can cause problems with tooth decay - not to mention the issue of milk leaking into the crib or spoiling during the night. If your baby has been used to sleeping next to you, then your smell is a significant factor in their comfort level. Consider using a bonding doll or baby blanket instead of a bottle or pacifier for baby’s first night alone.
Ookie® Dolls make a wonderful bonding toy. Babies love the soft touch of the cotton flannel body and silky satin trim. The knotted hands are easy for baby to grip. Moms like them because they are lightweight and machine washable.
Cuddle the doll between you and your baby for a few nights before making the transition to the crib. This will give the doll the same scent as you and will cause the baby to associate the doll with comfort.
I gave my daughter a plush bunny as my baby's first doll. I started placing the bunny in her crib with her from the very first day. She is now almost 2 years old, and still adores her bunny. The most difficult part is getting it away from her to throw into the washing machine once in awhile!
There will be many more times in life when you will have to separate from your children. I also have a daughter that will be graduating from High School in a few months and moving out on her own. I don’t think this event will be any easier then it was when I placed her in her crib to sleep by herself for the first time when she was a few months old.