The ability to breastfeed is an incredible gift that, while not always easy, provides countless benefits to both mother and baby. One of these great benefits is how it encourages bonding. Both parties need bonding to feel secure and satisfied during the postpartum period. For many people, breastfeeding is not only challenging but something that takes patience and diligence. However, the benefits associated are well worth it for many moms. Here are some of the ways in which breastfeeding encourages bonding between parent and baby.

Skin-to-Skin Contact

By its nature, breastfeeding requires skin-to-skin contact. This close contact triggers the release of oxytocin, the love hormone, and on a biological level increases nurturing instincts. Being more in-tune with what a baby needs means being able to act quicker to satisfy their needs and reduces incidents of fussiness. Oxytocin release during breastfeeding and general skin-to-skin contact can reduce anxiety levels and promote a sense of comfort for both the parent and baby.

Increases Sleepiness

Breastfeeding parents may notice that their baby will begin to drift off during or shortly following a breastfeeding session. This is completely normal. It is actually caused by hormones that the baby receives through breastmilk. Being relaxed and sleepy, the baby correlates breastfeeding and being close to their parents as a safe and relaxing space. The more a baby sleeps, the more parents are able to sleep.

Provides Comfort & Security

Because breastfeeding promotes comfort and security, being brought to the breast can help soothe a baby that is distressed for any number of reasons. The act of breastfeeding can actually reduce feelings of pain and promote healing. Breastmilk is a miracle substance that many even rub on the baby’s skin because it can heal various rashes better than any over the counter creams or ointments. Parent’s often get a sense of satisfaction when they are able to soothe their baby by just holding and feeding them.

Scent & Voice Identification

The closeness of breastfeeding helps build a sense of familiarity to each other’s scent and voice. Not only does the baby learn their parent’s scent and voice so that they know when they are in the safety and comfort of their parents arms, but the parents also grow accustomed to their baby’s scent and voice. The scent of a baby’s head is another trigger for positive hormones that create a sense of love and adoration for their young child. Additionally, parents often come to be able to interpret their baby’s cries and coos, knowing what they baby needs almost immediately.

Breastfeeding is all about closeness and nurturing. The ability to nurture and be nurtured is the base for building a sense of security and love for a baby. A baby that feels secure and comforted bonds stronger with its caregiver and a parent that feels fulfilled and connected with their baby’s needs bonds stronger with the baby. Breastfeeding builds security, comfort, love, and all the things needed to build that bond the two together.