New Baby Bonding: Faraway Family

If you’re like me, you’re eager for your new baby to spend as much time as possible with her relatives. Seeing your baby bond with aunts, cousins, and grandparents is immensely special, and I couldn’t wait for my girls to meet their extended family. Unfortunately, there was one thing that made this a challenge: Many of them lived far away. We live in New York, but my girls have grandparents in Vermont and various aunts and uncles all over the United States—but I didn’t let that stop us! Here’s how I was able to keep my daughters close to our faraway family:

Picture this: Got extra pictures lying around? Make a photo album with some of the outtakes, and then read it to your baby a couple of times a week. I named the people in the photos and told stories about them. This helped my daughters remember the faces, so that cousins and uncles weren’t complete strangers when they met them in person.

Go digital: Put technology to good use and set up an account on a video chat site with faraway family. Your new baby will look forward to video chats, especially if you make them a regular event, and she’ll begin to recognize faces and voices during these sessions. To truly keep your relatives in the loop, share even more: post pictures through Pampers Baby Book app, put videos on YouTube, or by start a blog to document your new baby’s days.

Family trips: Every summer, my entire family spends a week or two on the same tiny island in Maine. We rent houses near each other and enjoy lounging on the beach, eating lobster, and playing games. My girls love this annual vacation, and it’s definitely brought them closer to their cousins who live in Colorado and Virginia.

Little Picasso: All grandparents will love to receive homemade art in the mail. As my daughters got older, we made sure to ask them to put aside a few of their finger paintings, hand prints, drawings, and scribbles to send to grandma and grandpa. (If you’re tech-savvy, you could also scan them to relatives.) Your child will have fun making a special piece of artwork for her family, and your relatives will love the gift!

It took some time before my girls bonded with all of their faraway family members, but now, they are as close to them as if they lived next door! Don’t worry if your new baby seems nervous around her relatives at first. She will get to know them better over time -- no matter the distance.

by Jennifer Kelly Geddes