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How bonding supports your baby’s brain development

You Can’t Spoil A New Born Baby!

Bonding with baby during this special time is key to supporting their development.

The impact that a parent’s love and attention has on a baby’s development is researched and undeniable. We now know that it is impossible to “spoil” a new born baby and that the more we respond to their cries in those early developmental months, the less needy and more resilient they will grow to be.

As soon as your baby is born they know you and can pick you out of a crowd. You are as special to them as they are to you.

“The magical connection between my mummy and me”

Your touch is magical to me and it helps me to develop and feel safe and organised. I love when you “toes and nose” me. This means you bring your nose in to touch mine, moving slowly so as not to frighten me and touching me gently, then rubbing your nose side to side with mine a couple of times. I love when you do this every single day! Also, that you count and play with my toes doing “this little piggy went to market”. But please don’t tickle me at the end, it can be over stimulating for me and feel uncomfortable. I like it best when you just walk your fingers up my leg at the end or even nicer, rub my foot in circles at the end.

I feel a lot and often my feelings get too big for me to manage alone.

Even though I am small, I feel a lot and often my feelings get too big for me to manage alone. I need your help to pick me up, rock me, sing to me, softly stroke my face and make me feel that it will all be ok. Remember that loud noises, bright lights or even the sudden temperature change of getting undressed can overwhelm me at this stage.

When you understand me, you help me to make sense of the world around me. Those researchers tell us that when you learn to read and understand the cues that I give you (like crying or wriggling) and you respond appropriately by giving me what I need in that moment, you are doing more for my brain development than any structured activity or fancy shop bought gadget will ever achieve.

As I feel loved and understood by you, I begin to better understand who I am myself and how the world works. YOU are all I need to support my development in these early months of my life.


Baby holding an adults finger

“Skin-to-skin contact is a beautiful way to start building the bond straight after birth”

The cradle hold

Back of neck, head and spine are all supported by the arm and wide-open hand. The other hand supports the bottom.

The snuggle hold

Chest-to-chest with one hand supporting the back of the head and one hand under their bottom. Turn their head to one side so as not to obstruct their breathing.

Face-to-face hold

Hold your baby in front of you with their legs on your stomach. One hand under the head and one supporting the bottom. Great for interaction.

Rugby hold

With baby curled around your waist, and their legs stretching out behind you, draw them close, using one arm to support the back and neck and the opposite hand to support the head.

Belly hold

Chest and belly draped over your arm, head resting in the elbow crease and hand supporting the groin.

Next steps:

If you have any queries or concerns about your newborn, or your own health and well-being, make sure you speak to your midwife.

It’s important you get time to rest and bond with your baby in the early days. Get your partner to manage visitors, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

You’re probably going to feel quite sore at first, so ask for help when you need it and take it easy. It’ll help you to recover quicker.
Breastfeeding is the most

important skill you can master in the early days. Your midwife will have tonnes of tips on techniques to make it easier; make the most of their help while you can.


Further Reading

Hear from our baby feeding expert, Sue Battersby, on how that amazing first cuddle with your new arrival doesn’t just feel great to you, but impacts their sleep habits, immunity, stress levels and more.

Between 6 to 12 months your baby may start to express discomfort or display emotions such as anger and fear. During this time, they will look to you for security especially in times of uncertainty.

Important notice

By clicking on the "Continue" button, you can learn more about infant nutrition. If you choose to continue, you agree that Danone is supplying this information at your individual request for information purposes.

Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants: it is best adapted to their specific needs. A healthy and balanced diet of the mother is important for the preparation and continuation of breastfeeding. Mixed breastfeeding can interfere with breastfeeding and reduce milk production. It’s hard to reverse the choice of not breastfeeding. If an infant formula is used for a non-breastfed baby, it is important to carefully observe the instructions for preparation and use and to follow the advice of the medical profession. Incorrect use could pose a risk to the child’s health. Socio-economic implications must be considered in the use of infant formula. After 6 months, in addition to breastmilk, water is the only essential drink. Do not hesitate to consult your health care professional if you need advice on feeding your baby.