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31 May 2021

The Myth Of The Bond

Jo Emmerson

The depression which can affect us as new parents is a bleak, overwhelming and debilitating black hole. Laughter, smiles, eye contact and engagement are so hard to offer a newborn when you are in the grips of depression, but these essential elements of communication form the basis of cognitive development.

For parents struggling with depression, forming a bond with a new baby can feel impossible, adding to feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Here are five simple activities which can help you establish bonding and attachment with your baby:

SING.... nursery rhymes, songs on the radio, songs from your childhood. Singing helps children to develop syntax and rhythm, attunes them to yourvoice and it releases hormones in adults to boost your mood.

TALK.... to your baby. Not baby talk, but general chat about what you’re doing. Talking helps your little one hear your voice and begin to pick out language sounds and patterns.

CUDDLE.... The more time you can spend with your little one just being calm and close together will do more for their development, and your mental health, than almost any other thing.

EYE CONTACT.... Put screens away and spend time focussing on your little one, watching their expressions, listening to their babbles. Just 10 minutes a day can make a difference.

SIGN.... Using baby sign helps you practice all of these skills in a positive, supportive environment, plus it helps you understand and meet your baby’s needs much more easily, reducing frustration and tears all round.

‘At a time when my children needed me the most, I was almost unavailable but day by day, the depression receded and signing gave me a wonderful connection and great interaction with my girls as well as a path back to instinctive, responsive parenting and fun’. - baby signing mama

For more support for parents affected by new-parent depression contact

Want to know more about baby signing during pregnancy and with newborns? Book on our Fourth Trimester self-led pack, and email Jo to join the waiting list for the next FREE next 'Bump to 3 Months' course.

Or contact Jo for details:

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