When you’re a working mom, whether you work from home or go to an office, it can feel challenging to bond with your baby. You may put a lot of pressure on yourself too.
The most important thing to remember in all of this is that you shouldn’t feel guilty about what you’re doing or not doing. Your baby needs to be loved and cared for, but there’s no perfect or right way to do that. There’s not an approach that is going to work for every working mom, as we’re all unique.
If you work, don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong. You’re not, and work may be an important part of your life and being a mom.
What you should keep in mind is that when it comes to bonding with your baby or your child of any age, it’s about quality more than quantity. Five minutes of quality time spent when you’re both feeling content and happy is more valuable than five hours spent feeling stressed or upset.
The following are tips and things to know about bonding with your baby. These are geared toward working moms, but they’re useful in other situations a well.
If you work at home and log off for the day, or you work outside your home, the time right after your workday ends can be stressful. Don’t try to jump right into bonding with your baby.
Instead, give yourself time to relax before you bond with your baby. Babies can pick up on our energy and how we’re feeling at any given time.
When you get home or end your workday, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. Center yourself and move from work mode to mom mode.
When you’re present, you’re not thinking about what happened in the past or the future. You’re just thinking about the moment. All of this is going to translate to a more positive baby bonding experience.
As a side note, if at all possible, once you’re done with your workday, consider eliminating any distractions for the evening. Put your phone away, and your laptop or tablet as well. Consider the workday completely over, and don’t let anything distract you. This is good not just in terms of bonding with your baby but also your mental health.
Transform Feedings into Quality Time
We sometimes view feedings as a must-do or something that we put on our daily checklist, but instead, change your perspective. Look at this as some of the most valuable one-on-one time you spend with your baby.
It’s a time to not only fulfill basic needs but also to cuddle, make eye contact, and talk to your baby.
If you’re pumping throughout the day, the morning and evening feedings can become even more special. If you are formula feeding consider formula that tastes like breast milk in South Africa.
Give yourself time in the morning and the evening so that you don’t feel rushed during this time. Savor it and enjoy it for what it is—an important bonding experience.
Make Bath Time Extra Special
Bath time is like feedings—you might currently view it as another thing you add to your to-do list. It can be another key time to bond, however.
During your baby’s bath time, you can introduce them to new sights and movements that will help their development. Talk to your baby, and explain things he or she sees such as shapes.
Choose a baby bath wash or bubble bath with a calming scent for both of you, such as lavender.
Have Nightly Story Times
Whether you work or not, as busy moms, we often find that our best times to create bonding rituals with our children is right before they go to bed.
This includes feedings and bath time, but also story time.
Choose age-appropriate books you can read to your baby each night. This is likely to become part of your nightly routine for years to come.
Outsource What You Can
It may not be possible, but if you can outsource things like cleaning or some of your meal preparation, it can reduce your stress and give you more time to be with your baby.
Even if you can’t outsource things to a professional, ask for help and accept it when offered.
Too often, as moms, we feel like we have to do it all, and it quickly becomes overwhelming.
Don’t put yourself in that position if you have options.
Involve Your Baby in Your Hobbies and Activities
If you have things you have to do like chores around the house, or you have certain hobbies, include your baby in those.
Maybe you practice babywearing while you get things done around your home. If you like to run, you can bring your baby. If you do other types of exercise from home, include your baby in these as well.
For example, you might do yoga, and you can easily incorporate bonding time with your baby into your practice.
Babywearing in a front carrier lets your baby get familiar with your scent, you can regularly make eye contact, and you can speak to your baby often too. Your child is learning how to communicate with you, making it a great option for bonding.
Overall, there are ways that you can make your bonding time with your baby valuable, no matter how much actual time you can dedicate to it. Lower your expectations for yourself, and work on setting boundaries at work and with other people in your life.
Give yourself the freedom to be present with your baby because that’s what most important, whether you have a few minutes of bonding time each day or a few hours.
Prioritize the most important things to you, and if not everything gets done, that’s okay. Be forgiving with yourself and find what works for you.