Breastfeeding and bonding
You’ve spent your whole pregnancy looking forward to meeting your baby, thinking about who this little person will be, and the special bond you will share. Now that your little wonder has arrived, you have the rest of your lives to share special bonding moments together.
Breastfeeding is one of the simplest and most intimate ways for you to bond with baby.
You and baby might need a little practise to get into the swing of things, but don’t despair! The precious moments that are sure to follow will make up for the initial struggle. Bear in mind that breastfeeding allows you and baby to share the closeness of skin-to-skin while providing crucial nutrients and immunity to your little one. As an added benefit, breastfeeding releases mothering hormones into your body, boosting the bonding experience.
Besides the advantages the milk you provide has for your little one, the simple act of holding your baby close provides her with comfort and reassurance.
Your baby needs to get to know you just as much as you need to get to know her!
Use this opportunity to let your baby know that she is safe! As she lies on your chest she can hear your heartbeat and smell your scent. The more this happens, the more familiar you become to your little one and she will automatically feel safe and comforted in your arms. It is in these quiet moments that baby can look at your face, or get to know the sound of your voice. Try singing or talking to your little one while breastfeeding. Watching your expressions and hearing you speak will be very reassuring to baby. As if that is not enough reason to work those vocal pipes, studies also show that speaking and singing to baby while breastfeeding can support verbal, emotional and social learning.
If your baby is feeling ill and you are feeling helpless, we have some good news for you! Breastfeeding is a great way to help her feel better as breastmilk contains immune boosting nutrients and can even help to reduce pain! It’s not just about the antibodies though.
Nursing is a deep emotional experience, which helps you and baby relax, and in turn manage illness better.
The soothing hormones released in baby and mommy during nursing can help you both sleep better, too. And as a new mom, you know how desperately you need that peaceful sleep! Don’t be afraid to catch a few zees while breastfeeding. Baby is perfectly safe and happy in your arms – provided you’re securely propped – so it’s an opportune time to catch a little shut-eye, and baby should be ready for a nap when full.
The regular act of nursing means you are constantly holding and cuddling your little one – what better way for baby to learn your voice, your scent, your movements?
And who doesn’t love a cuddle?
The big question now is, what if you are not producing enough milk, or nutritious enough milk, or you’ve chosen to bottle feed? Well, do not let that break your spirit! You can still make feeding time bonding time by allowing some skin-to-skin contact as baby drinks a bottle so as not to lose out on the bonding benefits. Take this time to bond by singing and talking to your little one anyway! There’s also no rule against alternating breast and bottle either. As long as baby is willing to switch between the two, why not have the best of both worlds and still enjoy bonding time with your baby?
No matter your feeding choice, you are sharing a special time with your little one, and he or she is getting to know you. Above all, don’t forget to take time to enjoy the moment.
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I have had the privilege to work with many wonderful doulas and I would like to say thank you! Thank you not only for your servant heart but also for what you are doing for woman. In a place of vulnerability you aid us in being strong, in a place of insecurities you reassure, in a place of fear you speak hope!
This is our story. Yours? Well I don’t know, but I truly hope that it is magical. That you will be strong and brave. That you will know that YOU are a birthing queen, regardless of the birth you have or the plans that you make, because life has a funny way of working out just right…
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