Creating a strong bond between you and your baby

Our goal for this session is to strengthen your relationship with your new baby.

img Reviewing Your Chat With Zuri Zuri taught you that even though your baby is young, it's important to start building a strong bond early.

Identifying Unhealthy Thoughts

Taking care of a newborn is tiring. The non-stop cycle of eating, sleeping, changing, and crying can feel overwhelming. And when babies are this young, they can't even reward you with a smile for all that hard work. This makes some new moms think that it's too early to start bonding with their baby—that babies just have basic needs. These thoughts can make it hard to interact with the baby, and this can lead women to feel guilty as a result. If this describes you, don't worry. You can start building this bond even if it seems too hard today. Let's start by reviewing a few examples of unhealthy thoughts that can keep women from focusing on developing a relationship with their baby:

Unhealthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
My baby is too young to have feelings for me. Harder to dedicate time to spend doing activities with the baby. Less attention to the baby's needs and development.
I sometimes don't want to feed the baby and feel anger or sadness toward the baby rather than love. Guilt. Feeling ashamed about having these thoughts and feelings. Keeping it inside. These bad feelings can lead to poor health for mother and child.
img Writing Prompt Have you had times when it felt like you were not connected to your baby? What are some of the thoughts you've had, and what did you do?

Replacing Unhealthy Thoughts with Healthy Thinking

If you feel disconnected from your baby, one of the first things you can do is start to look for all of the small ways that your baby responds to your attention. As you begin to take notice of your baby's developing personality, you will begin to see the links between what you do and how your baby responds. Soon you will observe how your baby responds even to your feelings, and you'll begin responding to his/her feelings in return. This will be a good thing for you and your baby.

As you learn to identify unhealthy thoughts, you can challenge yourself to replace them with healthy ways of thinking. Here are a few examples:

Healthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
My baby’s health will be good if I give it the best possible care. I will give my full attention to the baby. Full focus on baby‘s needs.
It is okay if I do not feel positive immediately. I will work on it over time. Taking small steps to develop positive feelings towards the baby. A healthy relationship that positively affects the child’s development.
img Writing Prompt When do you most enjoy spending time with your new baby?
img Let's Practice Practice is a big part of the Healthy Moms program. We must learn how to Think Healthy, and practice is an essential part of learning.

1. Activities to spend time with your little baby!

Try the following exercises when you have time and are in a comfortable space.

img Gentle Massage:
  • Give your baby a gentle massage while making soothing sounds or saying loving words.
  • Try to do this once a day.
img Talking or Singing to Baby:
  • Talk or sing to your baby every day after feeding.
  • Listen to the sounds and watch the gesture your baby makes and try to mimic them.
  • Aim to do this 3 - 4 times per day.
img Playing with your Baby:
  • Play with your baby 3 - 4 times a day during different times of the day.
  • Show him/her different multi-colored objects or things that make a sound.
  • Hold the object out so your baby can grasp it but make sure they keep it clear from their mouth.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try these activities.

Did you give your baby a gentle massage? Did you sing or talk to your baby? Did you play with your baby?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

Writing Prompt What makes your baby the happiest? What activities do you enjoy doing with your baby?

2. Eating a Healthy Diet

img Writing Prompt Review your previous diet chart. What types of food are most readily available to you? How do you like to prepare them?

Create a chart like this in your notebook and use it to monitor your diet.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Ex. Tea, porridge, banana Chips and sausage Mandazi Ugali, beef stew, sukuma wiki
Day 1

Day 2

3. Making Time for Rest and Relaxation

img Slow Breathing:
  • Relax your body. Inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds.
  • Do this 2 to 3 times per day for 10 to 15 minutes each time.
img Walking:
  • Follow a gentle walking pace.
  • Do this 1 time per day for 15 to 20 minutes.
img Sleep:
  • Let your mind relax
  • It's not easy to find time for sleep with a newborn, especially when there are other young kids at home, but a rested mom is a healthy mom. Lean on your support system to help you get some sleep.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try the rest and relaxation activities.

Did you practice slow breathing today? Did you go for a walk today? Did you get a full night’s sleep?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

4. Keeping Track of Your Mood

Remember, keeping track of your thoughts and feelings is a great way to see how you change and grow over time. So at least once a day, imagine the 10-step emotion ladder from Session 1 and rate how you are feeling. On the bottom step (1) are women who feel very sad and blue. On the top step (10) are women who feel great with no sadness. Which step best shows how you are feeling?

Create the following chart in your journal. If you are feeling very happy—as happy as you have ever been—you might tick the box for a 9 or 10. If you are having a really tough day, you might tick the box for step 1 or 2. Tick whatever box is right for you. Just remember that low numbers mean more sadness, and high numbers mean more happiness.


img Writing Prompt What types of feelings do you have on days when you are really happy? What about really sad?
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