When you don’t bond
Bonding doesn’t come naturally to every parent, but it’s worth persevering, says Sipho.
A father confessed to an agony aunt that he felt disconnected from his 2-year-old son. He’d failed to bond with the infant and he felt unable to love the child. The man, who initially did not want children, had been convinced by his then wife to have one, and now found himself in this predicament.

There seems to be a misconception that a parent will instinctively bond with the new baby. Yes, some parents bond with the child as soon as they know they are going to have a baby. But for some the bonding might take some time and effort.

Infants are not necessarily easy to be around. They need constant attention, not forgetting the sleepless nights and other calls of duty. What about the tantrums that little ones can sometimes have?

A parent who focuses on these temporary inconveniences may mistakenly develop negative feelings towards the child and forget that the child will soon grow up and have a measure of independence. These negative feelings can be a barrier to bonding.

While mothers can also struggle with an emotional bond at first, for some fathers there are extra obstacles to making the connection. A father may feel neglected by his partner when a new baby arrives in the relationship when the mother has to focus most of her attention towards the baby. Maturity is needed on the father’s part to adjust to this new situation.

It’s easy for fathers to assume that bonding with the child is primarily the mother’s prerogative. But rearing a child is a job for both parents and each parent must make an effort to get to know the child. Every parent must allocate time to be with the child and get to know him or her personally. You can’t bond with someone you hardly know.

A parent who feels he or she can’t bond with the baby may need outside help for both parent and baby’s sake.

How easy was it for you to bond with your baby?

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