Emotional bonding can be achieved in different ways. Breast feeding certainly plays an important role in improving the bond between mother and baby, although, it is not necessarily the only effective means of mother-baby bonding.
To start, there are a number of studies which show the advantages of skin to skin contact between mother and baby! Our hospital, like most around the world, advocates skin to skin contact immediately after delivery. Mom’s chest and breasts are typically 2-3 degrees warmer than the rest of her body and the skin to skin contact has been shown to be very comforting to the newborn baby. Breastfeeding is the easiest way to achieve frequent ongoing skin to skin contact, which gives baby a greater sense of security and has a calming effect. There are even some studies on school age children that show long term improved psychological stability from being breastfed children.
Skin to skin contact is also a form of intimacy which is enhanced through breast feeding, both for the mother and baby.
Breastfeeding mothers have also shown a heightened response to baby’s cues. A study at Yale University has objectively demonstrated through brain scans a greater response to baby’s cry in moms who are breast feeding.
Giving of one’s self is a very satisfying act. Breast feeding is certainly one of the ultimate forms of giving. It is no wonder a mom has an increased sense of satisfaction, commitment, and closeness when she is able to effectively breast feed!