10 Great Reasons to Breastfeed Your Baby
Promotes Mother and Infant Bonding and Emotional Well-Being
Try as you might, it is nearly impossible to send an e-mail, check an answering machine, or feed the dog while nursing. Breastfeeding is nature’s way of getting us to slow down and focus on our babies. And while bottle-feeding mothers also form powerful bonds with their infants, breastfeeding moms experience hormonal changes that can intensify feelings of closeness and well being.
“Oxytocin and prolactin help mothers relax in different ways,” notes Dr. Dermer. “Oxytocin tends to lower blood pressure and blunt the mother’s response to stress while prolactin has a more calming, sedative effect.”
Breastfeeding also offers working moms the chance to sit back, kick up their feet, and reconnect with their babies after a long day away.
Breastfeeding is equally relaxing to Baby. Turned length-wise against Mom’s belly, breastfeeding babies experience maximum skin-to-skin contact, which has been proven to promote bonding. They can also feel the warmth of Mom’s skin, take in her scent and hear her heart beating. This multi-sensory experience resembles what baby enjoyed in utero and can comfort newborns as they adjust to life outside the womb.
Fathers are also crucial to a breastfeeding mother’s success. This is especially true in the first few weeks. Yes, breastfeeding is natural, but that does not mean it is always easy. Dads can do a number of things to help, including keeping mom company while she breastfeeds, making sure she is properly fed and hydrated, helping her properly position Baby on the breast, and shielding her from unwanted comments and advice from family and friends. Best of all, breastfeeding gives parents a chance to work collaboratively and to lay a loving foundation for their new family.
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