The mother-infant bond refers to the psychological attachment between mom and baby.. Research has shown that many women with postpartum depression have difficulty bonding with their infants. (I believe this would likely with other perinatal mood disorders as well). Trouble bonding can persist throughout the whole first year postpartum. Various questionnaires can be used to objectively assess mother-infant bonding.
What does difficulty bonding look like? While everyone can feel resentful of or angry at their babies at times, feeling this way often is a red flag. Similarly, it is normal to get tired of peek-a-boo or reading board books, but if you don’t enjoy spending time with your baby this is also a concern. Feeling like your baby would be better off with someone else is another possible issue. One woman I know who had postpartum depression recalls that her infant daughter cried a lot, but that she felt detached and didn’t care. Another woman knew she was struggling with bonding when she didn’t perceive her third baby as beautiful and amazing, like she did with her older children.
If you feel like you are having trouble bonding with your baby, don’t despair. This does not mean that you are a bad mom, even though it may feel that way sometimes. Your bond with your child will improve as you seek help and begin to feel like yourself again. Remember that it’s never too late to strengthen your bond with your child. Think of adoptive families, who can create loving bonds with their children despite a late start in the child’s life.
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