Feeding and baby's bond with his or her mother

A special moment that strengthens the relationship between mother and newborn

Mother-child bond

 

After waiting for months for baby to arrive, breastfeeding represents a special moment for getting to know one another and beginning to form a special bond between mother and child, which will continue to grow and strengthen as time passes.

Feeding: a bond that goes beyond nourishment

The benefits of breastfeeding include the sensory and emotional stimuli that the mother receives, which provide gratification, fostering maternal and protective feelings and strengthening the sense of fulfilment as a woman. Meanwhile, in that long maternal embrace, the baby finds not only the physical well-being that is derived from being nourished, but above all an ideal feeling of warmth and safety, enabling him or her to grow up in a calm, serene atmosphere. Let's look at the stimuli in play during feeding, and the role that these have in the development of the bond between mother and child.

Skin-to-skin contact

The importance of skin-to-skin contact, where baby is placed naked (or wearing just a nappy) on the mother's chest, is well known. This type of contact isn't just beneficial at birth, but also in the period following this. Every time that a woman is close to her baby, her body releases a number of hormones, including oxytocin, which is crucial: not only does it stimulate breastmilk production, but it also improves the mother's ability to take care of her little one (cuddles, calm voice, sweet, affectionate language).

Eye contact

At birth, a newborn baby sees the world in black, white and grey, and can only focus on things that are very close. This close vision is enough to see the mother's face while baby is feeding. In the first few days after birth, feeding on demand provides the mother with an opportunity to experience this intimate contact several times a day, beginning to cement the special bond with her baby from their very first moments together.

Voice

Speaking to your newborn baby helps you to get to know each other; baby becomes familiar with the voice that he or she was used to hearing even before birth, and this provides the basis for the development of social skills in the future. It doesn’t matter what you talk about, as long as you speak softly, or you can also sing - a fun way of establishing a bond with your little one whilst feeding.

Touch

Touch is incredibly important for your baby. Snuggling, hugging, cradling and caressing are perfect ways to calm baby and give a sense of safety, as well as encouraging the release of oxytocin.

Smell

A newborn's sense of smell is also highly developed, and plays a vital role in the creation of the bond. At birth, baby is drawn by the smell of his or her mother's milk and body. Thanks to the sense of smell, oxytocin is released, which (as we have already explained) helps to establish the mother-child bond and facilitates breastfeeding.

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