Babies, Breastfeeding, and Bonding
Breastfeeding is crucial for a baby’s proper development and growth, but it goes beyond providing milk to a newborn.
Breastfeeding is crucial for a baby’s proper development and growth, but it goes beyond providing milk to a newborn. Your time breastfeeding with your baby serves to nurse, comfort, and nurture, and it’s a time when you get to know your baby, and your baby gets to know you, your smell, your touch, and your voice.
Even if you cannot or chose not to breastfeed, the feeding period with your child is the ideal moment to build bonds between you two.
Here are a few ways that bonds are created while you nurse your child, through the bottle or the breast:
Through comfort nursing, also known as non-nutritive sucking, your baby gets security, bonding, company, and positive hormonal releases. Studies show that the simple act of sucking reduces the odds Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and using a pacifier and breastfeeding reduced the odds even further. (TIP: Let your baby decide when he’s done breastfeeding. Comfort sucking, even when not taking in milk, brings them just that: comfort.)
Studies of babies’ brains while sucking at the breast show increased activity of the brain in areas that control alertness and attention, as well as in areas that control the cycle of sleeping and waking.
Your baby is born with a wonderful and easy program designed to make him fall asleep. It’s called breastfeeding. When you’re feeding your child, your body passes comforting hormones to your child, through your milk. In turn, your baby releases comforting hormones, so everyone wins in the end.
Research shows that breastfeeding works magic when it comes to your baby’s pain. When your baby is sick, the soothing qualities of being held and sucking helps them heal and relieve symptoms. It’s a quick, safe, and easy way to help them deal with pain.