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New Parents: Bonding with Your Child

Occasionally you may find that your feelings towards your baby are negative. This does not necessarily indicate that something is wrong. Ups and downs in human relationships are perfectly normal, as long as intimacy, love, and satisfaction with the relationship are dominant.

However, if you find that you shy away from interaction with your infant, or that you have highly ambivalent feelings about parenting or take a mechanical approach toward it, this may mean that something is interfering with the intimacy that should be developing. Other signs that may indicate a problem are depression, self- absorption, and an unwillingness to become attached to your baby. If any of these happen, it is vital that you take action.

What to Do

Your first approach can be on your own or with your partner. How much do you think comes from you and how much from the child? Is there something else going on in your life that is making things difficult? Does your baby not react to you in the ways you had hoped for or expected?

If you feel that you have identified something that seems easily changed, then you can try to change it on your own. For example, if you work so much that you never get to see your child, you might try dropping an extra shift to spend more time at home. If, on the other hand, you spend all your time with your baby, perhaps you can find a friend or relative to relieve you for short periods. Adjustments like these may remove some of the stress from parenting.

Sometimes, however, solutions are less apparent; if this is the case you may want to try a professional consultation. A therapist or counselor also will be able to refer you to local organizations, such as home visitor or parent aide programs, public or nonprofit child service agencies, or volunteer self-help organizations. Such programs include parent-child help centers and groups of other parents with similar difficulties.

Counseling and support can help to bring out your potential for love if you feel that you are unable to connect with your child. Remember, all parents are capable of bonding. People have different capacities for intimacy, but there are many forms of love.

New Parents: Bonding with Your Child

Michael Ashworth, Ph.D.

APA Reference
Ashworth, M. (2020). New Parents: Bonding with Your Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 30 Jul 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.