Breastfeeding and Bonding

Breastfeeding 05th August 2019

In the nine months that you carry your baby in your womb, the anticipation of meeting your baby continues to grow with each passing month. It slowly becomes the thing at the forefront of your mind, overcoming all fears, worries and anxieties. And then, when the wait is finally over and you touch your baby's tiny hands, it already turns out to be one of the best moments of your entire life.

Right after your delivery, no matter if it's your first baby or third, the first few days are bound to be magical and enchanting. Despite the stressors that accompany a newborn, the warmth, love and bond that you get to experience with your little one, makes everything worth it.

One of the best ways to initiate bonding with your baby is through breastfeeding. Breastfeeding, along with providing unbeatable nourishment to your newborn in those first few months, is also by far the best way to strengthen the bond between a mother and her baby. By providing the comfort of skin-to-skin contact will ensure your baby that you are there to care for them, no matter what!

Unfortunately, breastfeeding may not always be easy. But with the benefits it offers to both you and your baby, it is worth all the effort it takes. Here's how breastfeeding promotes bonding.

Primarily, it revolves around the psychological need that's fulfilled when you provide the comfort, closeness, and nourishment to your newborn. Breastfeeding releases love hormones, from mom to the baby—that promote the formation of a strong bond.

It's not just the act of feeding that helps build the bond. It is the overall closeness that one needs to breastfeed, which provides reassurance of their dependency on you.

  • Skin-to-skin contact. It is one of the main reasons that breastfeeding promotes bonding. It is believed to increase the levels of oxytocin (the love hormone!) in both mom and baby, which in turn increases positive hormonal interactions.
  • This hormone enhances your overall mothering behaviors and instincts. This means that you'll be more attuned to your baby's needs and learn to respond faster and more efficiently to their behaviors.
  • Skin-to-skin contact is known to decrease anxiety, increase happiness, and normalize temperature, heart rate, and even breathing. All of these benefits combined together provide an overarching sense of nourishment and trust, which are the building blocks of a stronger bond.
  • Comfort nursing. Newborns are very soothed by the act of breastfeeding. When your baby gets upset, breastfeeding comforts and helps calm them down. This helps develop a strong bond and further encourages a closeness. The soothing act of breastfeeding also reduces pain and promotes healing.
  • Scent and voice recognition. Breastfeeding occurs in very close proximity. This will allow your baby to learn and recognize your unique scent. When you speak softly and during breastfeeding, it also strengthens the voice bond that you have built while your baby was in the womb. Over the course of time, your baby will be able to easily differentiate your smell and will find comfort in the familiarity of it.
  • Increased sleepiness. The calming hormones passed between the mother and baby during breastfeeding helps generate a sense of sleepiness. This sense of calming that emanates from the hormones builds trust and increases the comforting bond between a mother and her baby. Co-sleeping with your baby increases closeness and helps both mom and baby to get a better night's sleep and makes nighttime feedings much easier.

The bond that breastfeeding forms is something that will last a lifetime. It's psychological closeness helps show your baby the safety that your arms can provide. It encourages understanding, protection, love and an emotional closeness that will help them for years to come.

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