You survive the different stages of pregnancy, you’ve done the birth classes and now you are just waiting for baby. The moment you see your new son or daughter you will be totally in love and everything will fall into place as your natural instincts take over, right? Well, experts are urging new and expectant mums to free themselves of the pressure to bond with their baby at birth and accept sometimes it takes time.
Jen Hamilton, a mothercraft nurse for 27 years, says it can take six months or more for mums to bond with their babies.
“It’s all you see in advertising and the movies. Mums are depicted as forming an immediate bond, when in reality it can take much longer to form a true rhythm with their baby,” Jen says.
A 2016 survey of more than 500 mums shows that while most expect to feel an instant connection with baby, almost 60 per cent take longer to form a bond.
The research, for smartphone app WOTBaby, found that mothers are feeling the pressure, from themselves or others, to bond with their baby at birth.
But Jen explains it isn’t always that easy and mums need to cut themselves some slack.
“There are some key fundamentals that result in a successful bond between parent and baby, and so many out-of-control factors can affect that experience, including labour, health, support systems, relationships, personality and personal history or adjustment with things like feeding.
“In my experience, I generally find on average, mums truly start bonding with their child at four to five months.”
“Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it takes ages for the magic to develop,” she says.
“Often mums are exhausted after a scary birth, and with more births involving more intervention these days, there is often less contact with the baby initially.”
Jen created the WOTBaby app to give parents advice and information about raising babies.
This article was originally published in July 2016.