Bonding with your premature baby

If your baby is in an incubator, you may find it harder than usual to bond with her - though this is not always the case. If you don't feel a connection with your baby at first, don't worry - just try to take each day as it comes.

You may worry because there may be a big difference between how you feel about your baby and how you think you 'should' feel about your baby.

If you are expecting to fall in love with her at first sight, you may feel very worried or guilty if you feel somewhat detached from the small creature lying in the incubator.

Try not to worry if you don't bond immediately. It takes many mothers some time to get to know and love their new baby - especially after a difficult birth. If your baby is in an incubator, then it may take you a little longer to connect with her, as so many other people need to be involved in her care. Kangaroo care, (a technique where the infant, especially preterm babies,  is held, skin-to-skin, with an adult) can help with the bonding process.

This technique is taught in many hospitals in Africa. The nursing staff will support and train you on how to care for your baby in this way.

If you have to use any special equipment, you will get training and detailed instructions. If the unit has the facilities, they will also give you the chance to 'room in', which involves sleeping in the hospital with your baby for a short period of time.