Trouble Bonding with Baby #2

I remember when I was pregnant with my second that I was really worried about bonding with this baby like I had with my first. Mom after mom after mom told me the same thing…

“Oh you don’t need to worry about it! It just happens. The minute you look at this one you will bond the same.”

And for some of you, maybe even most of you, that may be true.

But for the mom out there that is pregnant or the mom out there that might be reading this during the wee hours of the night rocking that second {or third or fourth} one to sleep, this might be what you need to hear.

trouble bonding

The love, yeah that was instant. I loved my second, Moriah, the instant I knew I was having her. It has a hard pregnancy – threatened miscarriage first trimester and pre-term labor a few times the last trimester – which made me love her more.

But I feared how I would bond with her. Bonding and loving were totally different moments for me.

With the first it was pretty easy to bond. She was the only one my eyes looked at all day. When I nursed her or fed her a bottle, I actually looked at her. There weren’t other things to do {nor was there an iPhone in my hand yet}. My days were spent at home with her. Just with her. Bonding with her came naturally.

I remember the night before I was to be induced with my second just sobbing thinking this was our last time as a family of three. I had no clue what it would be like to add another to our mix. Don’t hear me wrong, I wanted to add another. I was SO excited to meet Moriah! But I also was afraid to lose what I had with just Karis, my oldest.

After Moriah was born, I struggled with bonding with her. It just took more time…and more effort.

Because now when I fed this baby, I was also managing timeouts and potty training and snacks and whatever else my very busy 2 year old had going on. I wasn’t just staring in her eyes endlessly. Not to mention that now there was the temptation to fill those middle of the night feedings with the glare of the iPhone instead of staring at her, singing over her, praying over her, dreaming for her. Again, don’t hear me wrong, it wasn’t that I didn’t do those things still, it’s just that she didn’t have my full attention like Karis did.

moriah in bumboPlay time didn’t center around tummy time or board books or squeaky toys. Play time centered around my big girl. Moriah wasn’t some extra to the side either. She was a part of every tea party and time at the park. But those activities just aren’t baby stimulating activities. She still loved it. I love the pictures I have of her playing with Karis. I treasure those times. But, as you can see, they just weren’t centered solely around her. {Even though, Baby Moriah was the main attraction to Karis!}

My days weren’t spent obsessing over the next developmental milestone we needed to work on. I silently chuckle when around other moms now with first kids, and I also silently take notes. So many of those first time moms served as reminders of – Oh yeah, we should start tummy time. Or she can eat baby food now? Or I guess we should practice sitting. I wasn’t obsessing over that. Because I wasn’t obsessing over only her.

 

For those moms out there that feel like you are struggling to bond, here are a few notes from one mom who struggled to another ::

Know you are not alone and give yourself a break. You are an amazing mom. Trouble bonding with your kid isn’t the same as not loving your kid. You have got to separate the two.

Realize what this kid gets in exchange for instant/early bonding. I had many friends remind me during this time, “Becky, your first kid got all of your love and attention. The second has to share it. But they also get the love and attention of a sibling that the first never had.” This has helped me so much. It has been a pure delight watching Karis bonding with Moriah. The love those two have for one another is just the sweetest thing ever. I’m so glad Moriah has us both.

Make an effort {you just have to work harder at it when it’s not the first}. Like I said, when it’s your first, that baby is all you have to focus your attention on. Give yourself permission and opportunity to bond with this one. Maybe nurse or feed in the other room {a little screen time for the big kid never hurt anyone}. During those middle of the night feedings, don’t get lost in your Instagram feed every night, maybe choose a few nights to just stare at your little one. When the other kid is asleep, take advantage of that rare time with just you and that baby.

Trust that it will come. Because it will. For me, it’s been in waves. Even the other day as I was watching Moriah and taking in her personality, I felt another wave wash over me. I’m still bonding with her. And instead of feeling guilty about that like I used to, I’m treasuring those waves as they come.

 

I hope this helps even just one mama out there feel a little better if you struggled with this bonding process. Hang in there Mama, it will come!

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Becky grew up in Houston, leaving only for college and an internship, but the humidity called her back! And it's a good thing - because shortly after moving home, she met her husband Chris, St. Louis Cardinals fanatic and {wife proclaimed} genius. She stays home with their two (soon-to-be three) girls: Karis, a girly girl and tenacious toddler, and Moriah, smiliest baby alive & Texas Women’s Hospital 10,000th baby in 2012. When she's not in the middle of a tea party, play dates, or potty training, she writes devotions with Sacred Holidays, teaches at prisons and women's ministry events and is a certified MBTI Life Coach {with Orbiting Normal}. She loves hot Houston summers, coffee creamer, dance parties with her family, nail polish, iced tea, reading {although it’s a lot of picture books these days}, and their church family {Bayou City Fellowship}! She would love to connect with you on her personal blog {www.beckykiser.com} or through Twitter {@beckykiser}, Pinterest {@beckyjkiser}, and Facebook.

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