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The bonding process between mom and her newborn is often portrayed as an experience that begins once baby is born. Without a doubt, this magical connection is most intensely felt when mom holds her baby for the first time, skin-to-skin, and relishes in the miraculous new life she helped create. However, bonding is not exclusive to the postpartum period. This very special bond can begin the moment mom receives the wonderful news that she is expecting, and can be nurtured by the actions and choices mom makes during her pregnancy.
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For me, the bonding experience began the moment my husband and I realized the incredible reality that we were expecting a baby. From that point on, I made it my mission to make healthy dietary and lifestyle choices for my growing baby. Sure, I didn’t entirely abandon my occasional sweet tooth indulgences—give me a slice of carrot cake and there is no way I can refuse—but I didn’t veer too far from balanced, healthy and fresh.
Also, I was very fortunate to experience a joyous, high-energy pregnancy, and as a result, many moms and moms-to-be ask me what I did to stay on track. For infinite reasons, I recommend the following five bits of advice. What is so outstanding about making these purposeful dietary and lifestyle choices is that they can develop into a very powerful way to bond with your baby.
Now that my baby girl is here, I feel very thankful for being so dedicated to her well-being through good nutrition and fitness. My habits during my pregnancy have only grown and evolved now that I am a mom. Our mother-daughter closeness has been strengthened by numerous priceless moments, but my most favorite are those that involve feeding her nutritiously and knowing the positive impact it will have on her as she grows. I was very fortunate to enjoy bonding with Leah through the incredible experience of breastfeeding and ensuring that my diet remained wholesome and varied for her benefit. Now that we have introduced solid foods, we laugh and smile as peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, bananas and other nutrient-rich foods make their way into her sweet growing body (and all over her face, of course!) We have so much fun pretending the spoon is a choo-choo train cruising along the tracks or an airplane spiraling out of control! She giggles and thinks I am just the funniest person, and it truly melts my heart.
So for all you mamas and mama-to-be out there, embrace every opportunity to connect with your baby, whether you begin the bonding process during pregnancy or when the greatest love ever is pressed upon your heart with that first embrace.
- Meghan Lyons, MS, CredibleCravings Nutritionist and Mom.