The Breastfeeding Bond
If you’re like many new moms, you were full of excitement and anticipation during pregnancy, plus maybe some nerves and doubt about your aptitude as a mother. While carrying your baby, you were as close as two humans can be, attached at the hip, or umbilical cord as it were. Then when your baby arrived you were overwhelmed with pure love for the newest little member of your family and immediately made plans for the future of your relationship together.
Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to kick-start the bond between mother and newborn. A 2011 study shows that breastfeeding moms’ brains have a greater response to their crying babies than non-breastfeeding moms, indicating that breastfeeding stimulates empathy and affection in new mothers.
Breastfeeding also encourages skin-to-skin contact, which allows the baby to feel warm and secure, and helps to regulate the baby’s heart rate. Breast milk offers the perfect nourishment for your little ones’ under-developed digestive tract and organs. Plus, the act of sucking is soothing and calming to babies. All of these aspects of breastfeeding ingratiates your baby to you!
Beyond the biological advantages, a commitment to breastfeeding ensures that mother and baby will be close all day long. This allows time to learn one another, trust each other and be sensitive to each other’s needs. This closeness then bleeds into every aspect of motherhood and perpetuates and elevates the bond.
Beyond breastfeeding, there are other wonderful ways to bond with your infant, including skin-to-skin contact during non-meal times, a warm bath, reading a story, baby-wearing and an infant massage.
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