First and Foremost Concentrate on Bonding.
I am extremely lucky. My profession allows me to regularly witness the most beautiful and touching event I know; the delivery of a healthy newborn infant bonding with her mother. The entire process is filled with a sense of accomplishment, awe, affection, and total love; what a beautiful sight! I am writing to remind our patients to take advantage of this time to place your baby skin to skin and allow adequate time for natural bonding to occur, and you may be surprised how skin-to-skin bonding will naturally lead to better breast feeding.
Breastfeeding is best achieved under calm relaxed conditions, and skin-to-skin contact is an essential part of bonding and creating a relaxed comforting situation. Witnessing a mother skin-to-skin with her relaxed newborn is a beautiful sight! More and more studies have demonstrated the immense power of touch and relaxation. Babies show more irritability when immediately separated from their mother and are more calm when immediately placed skin-to-skin with mom. Skin-to-skin, babies are more likely to latch, tend to breastfeed better and tend to cry much less. There is even scientific evidence showing that the hormone oxytocin is increased in both the mother and newborn when placed skin-to-skin. Oxytocin is the neurotransmitter in the brain that reduces stress and instills a sense of closeness as well as pleasure. In fact oxytocin is called the Love Hormone!
Taking your time to enjoy the natural pleasures that skin-to-skin bonding affords also allows you the time to begin noticing your newborn’s breastfeeding signals including rooting, head bobbing, or turning side to side. Human babies are born with a natural instinct to breastfeed, but it can take an hour or more before this instinct takes hold. When your baby is bobbing her head on your chest she may in fact be seeking out the breast. This is the best time to assist your baby by talking softly to her and placing her in an optimal breastfeeding position.
Although breastfeeding is a natural process, it is also a learning process. Focusing on skin-to-skin helps you bond with your baby and affords you the time to learn your baby’s cues and may better facilitate the breastfeeding process.
Visit Youtube and watch “ Beautiful Breast Crawl” for a 6 minute video which demonstrates how a newborn in skin-to-skin contact may actually self attach.