July 14, 2011 02:00 PM

Courtesy Wise Parenting Press

While thinking of her grandson, songwriter Lisa Rafel began crafting new music “that came deeply from my heart,” she told PEOPLE. She decided to share some of her new songs with friends and they encouraged her to record them for people who are nursing and bonding with their new babies. “[They felt] they really brought about a deep sense of peace and calm.”

That reaction led Rafel to pen the book Safe in the Arms of Love: Deeping the Essential Bond With Your Baby, with the help of composer/producer Gary Malkin and clinical psychologist Dr. David Surrenda.

A combination of words, illustrations and music, the book, which comes with a companion CD, aims to help parents better connect to their children during infancy.

“It was an interesting process for me, because as I was writing the book, I realized that my daughter and I had not really bonded,” Rafel said. “I knew the difference once I recognized that because I had bonded with my son, and my whole life I was wondering why our relationships were so different.”

According to Rafel, bonding is established at the earliest stages of a child’s life, and is achieved through touch, massage, and sound — talking to the baby.

“When you’re in a bonded experience, you feel enormously comfortable with the baby,” Rafel said. “You feel like it’s the most natural thing. You feel the baby’s responsiveness to you, like there’s this sense of safety that the baby’s feeling. You can tell right away that there’s a real physical connection that makes the parent feel at ease.”

The best time to begin bonding is immediately after the birth, with Rafel encouraging new moms to “have uninterrupted time with the baby in the beginning. Let the baby be with you in the room. Make sure you hold the baby; let the baby have skin-to-skin contact with the parents.”

Having seen the difference bonding made with her own children, Rafel and her coauthors consider spreading awareness about its importance a personal mission.

“We decided to make a major commitment to put out this music book and to promote it as much as we could to help people who don’t know that this is something they’re missing,” she said. “If you don’t know, you don’t know.”

Kiran Hefa

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