“It's a relationship that can fix almost everything - it's comfort, closeness, first aid, sleep help, the list goes on. A mothering tool that I couldn't imagine being without.”
Babies Feed For All Sorts Of Reasons
Human milk contains so much more than nutrition, and the closeness and safety your baby experiences in your arms is priceless.
When a baby breastfeeds, hormones such as oxytocin and cholecystokinin are released. They give babies a feeling of calm, relaxation and contentment. Oxytocin is produced in mum too and this stimulates feelings of trust, affection and love. Oxytocin helps us to strengthen relationships and form bonds with our loved ones. Oxytocin is also a sedative so it's really normal for babies to fall asleep while they are feeding and particularly useful at night. When it's produced during a feed, it can help mums sleep too.
Of course, breastfeeding isn't just food, it's medicine. Tailor-made antibodies are created from the pathogens in mum's and baby's environment and delivered through the feed. There are many antiviral and antibacterial properties in our milk. Breastmilk also has anti-inflammatory properties. Breastfeeding is increasingly being respected as a pain relief tool and its effect is noted by researchers and health professionals as well as by mums with a teething baby at 2am!
To empathise with our newborns feelings we need to put ourselves in their place, to imagine experiencing their world – but which world? The world they have spent most of their life in, their ‘womb world’ or the world they are in now – our world. To fully understand we must appreciate the enormous transition they have made – a concept known to many as ‘The Fourth Trimester’
"The researchers found that infants with no pain control showed the highest pain scores compared with newborns to whom pain control was provided. Infants who breastfed showed the lowest increase in heart rate when compared with no pain relief..."
"Human breast milk serves as a reservoir for bio-molecules that help to resolve inflammation and combat infection."
"Why Love Matters explains why love is essential to brain development in the early years of life, particularly to the development of our social and emotional brain systems, and presents the startling discoveries that provide the answers to how our emotional lives work.
Sue Gerhardt considers how the earliest relationship shapes the baby's nervous system, with lasting consequences, and how our adult life is influenced by infancy despite our inability to remember babyhood."