Dr. William Sears (Dr. Bill Sears) is a renowned pediatrician who parents have trusted for decades, he’s authored over 40 books, has eight children and a new grandchild. Dr. Sears has witnessed a lot of change in parenting over the years, especially in terms of bonding. With peak birth season nearly upon us (the months of July, August and September) Dr. Bill Sears joined me for an interview to discuss just how important it is for parents-to-be and new parents to bond with their baby in the womb, and shortly after birth.
Candace Rose: You’re a renowned pediatrician, you’ve authored over 40 books, you have eight children and a new grandbaby. I’m sure you’ve witnessed a lot of change in parenting over the years. Why has bonding become such an important part of modern parenting?
Dr. Bill Sears: “Well, Candace, bonding simply means getting to know and enjoy your baby more. It’s an important part of parenting because you’re going to be spending a lot of time doing it. It’s really a series of interactions that begins before birth and continues through the life of the child.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips for parents for bonding with their baby while they’re still in the womb and shortly after birth?
Dr. Bill Sears: “Yes. Here are my three top bonding tips:
- First of all, talk to your pre-born baby. Get baby used to the sound of your voice and the rise and fall of your voice, and dad’s deeper voice. Babies actually start moving with the rhythm of mommy’s voice toward the second half of pregnancy when they can hear outside voices.
- Secondly, feel your baby. Put your hands on what we call the baby bump and feel those adorable little kicks.
- Thirdly, bond during diaper change. You’re going to be spending more time changing diapers (around 2,000 of them) than any other interaction except for feeding.
Here’s my top tip on how to enjoy diaper changing, we call it novelty. Babies love novelty. Reserve special antics, songs, facial gestures, touches that you use only during diaper changing time. I used to walk my fingers up and down babies arms and tummy playing ‘wiggly’ only during diaper changing time. What happens is babies settle better because they learn to look forward to diaper changing because fun is soon to follow, so they tend to squirm less.
While you change your baby’s diaper pay good attention to good skincare. That’s why I recommend Huggies Little Snugglers diapers. They have a cushiony lining called gentle absorb liner that sort of provides a nice layer of protection to help draw the mess away – the mess that we used to call ‘little treasures’. Their wipes are the simplest formula ever. Enjoy bonding time during those many many hours that you’re going to spend diapering your baby.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other opportunities for bonding that parents may not be aware of?
Dr. Bill Sears: “Yes. Bonding during feeding time. Get baby used to the voice and special facial gestures during feeding time. Here’s a tip for dad, so mom’s pay close attention – I call it the neck nestle. I developed this one day when Martha was out and I was with Matthew and he was a little fussy. I said what do I have that’s different? Ah, a deeper voice. The deep male voice vibrates more. If you put baby’s head in the crook of your neck against your chin and start singing something deep like ‘Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep my little baby’, baby lulls right off to sleep and gets to love the deeper sound of daddy’s voice.”
Candace Rose: What kind of daily routines or habits can help you forge ties with your little one as she grows?
Dr. Bill Sears: “Well, Candace, all day long is really bonding, but you don’t have to think of it as bonding. First of all, narrate your day, just the normal goings on. You talk about it – ‘I’m putting on my dress, I’m putting on my tie, I’m baking cookies, I’m working at my computer.’ You just talk about normal daily activities so that baby learns to associate the actions with the words.
A real fun time is what we call happy hour. Happy hour is that end of the day when moms are tired and babies are fussy, that’s the time to do infant massage. Put baby down in a sunlit through the window, on the floor, put on soft music and enjoy those therapeutic touches as we call them of infant massage.
Also, fun games to bond with baby. When baby starts to crawl play peekaboo, I see you; bath time, rubber duckies in the tub! Your daily routines make it fun and enjoyable for both you and baby.”
Candace Rose: Thank you for the wonderful tips, Dr. Sears. Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Bill Sears: “For more tips on bonding and all parenting information, our website is AskDrSears.com. Also, Candace, for more information about healthy skin care for the soft delicate skin that baby has, go to Huggies.com.”