The debate about breastfeeding and bottle feeding continues. Ultimately, the choice is up to the mother and what she is able to do within her comfort zone. That may sound selfish if you are against bottle feeding, but an uncomfortable mother is going to mean that she and the baby are both missing out on some of the best parts of meal time.
Here are some ways breastfeeding brings mom and baby closer.
From the moment babies are born they can recognize their mothers through a primal sense of smell. The recognition develops even further when the mother and child share breastfeeding time. The child learns to recognize the mother by the feel of her skin, the sound of her voice, and other things we all take for granted. It also brings the baby closer to the mother’s heartbeat, something that has soothed the babe since life was conceived.
Skin on Skin
Studies have demonstrated that every mammal benefits from skin on skin contact. This contact is soothing and helps develop social bonds. In the case of the mother and baby, this is a silent form of soothing that sets the foundation for the future relationship. As the child gets older, this soothing extends to other subtle forms of contact that are subconsciously associated with skin on skin contact from infancy. It isn’t that a mother brushing a lock of hair back from a four year old’s face is so soothing at bedtime; it’s the past association that makes it so.
From the very first time a babe is held, a sense of safety is developed. People who never experience this sense of safety in infancy often still search for that sense as adults. When a mother breastfeeds her child, the child learns that there is a person they can turn to in order to get their physiological needs met. However, they also learn about a whole other level of getting needs met. Of course the child is unaware of these things on a conscious level, but uses this as a foundation for future relationships.
Babies aren’t the only ones who experience benefits from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding brings mom and baby closer because the mother also gets benefits. There is a need to physically express love, so much so that some women actually bite babies to satisfy this need. The mother gets to express her love physically as she cradles the child and offers nourishment. In return, she feels a calming sense of oneness with the baby. A silent communication of trust and love is shared on a level that no other experience can reach.
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