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Apr 6, 2012

Bonding through Breastfeeding

Bonding with your newborn child is so important and there are many ways to do it. The most important element is touch. It has been proven in studies that a mother’s contact with her newborn child is very important for initial development. This includes:
~Holding the baby.
~Massaging the baby.
~Breastfeeding the baby.

Not only is it important, but any time you spend with your child will be precious. Breastfeeding is also a good option for bonding because it allows the mother a little bit of quiet time. It is not often that a newborn may be distracted enough not to be noisy, unless it is sleeping!

Breastfeeding Basics
~ You can start breastfeeding from the first moment you hold your child.
~ Make sure you have some
breastfeeding tops before you give birth so you can comfortably feed your baby.
~ Your breast milk is nutritionally designed just for your child!
~ You and your baby will require practice before becoming breastfeeding experts.
~ Most hospitals and community centres offer classes and advice.
~ Breast feeding should not be painful. While it may be uncomfortable, pain may reveal other problems.
~ You should nurse frequently. Remember, your child needs more than 3 meals a day!
~ Find a nice quiet spot at home to breastfeed. Some music and your first
Mother’s Day flowers will help create a relaxing environment for you and your baby.

Health and Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding helps the mother bond with her child because it releases oxytocin in the mother's brain. This chemical is also known as the ‘love hormone’; it increases maternal feelings in the mother towards her child. It also provides the best early nutrition for a developing baby.

The quality of breast milk depends on diet. It is important maintain regular eating patterns and good nutrition to make sure you are producing enough milk. It is a good idea to keep some snacks on hand, as you will get hungry when you are breastfeeding.

Healthy Foods for Breastfeeding
~ Wholegrain foods.
~ Fruit, including citrus, berries, grapes, apricots, peaches and melons.
~ Legumes like lentils, soy products and chickpeas.
~ Lots of vegetables, especially green and orange ones.
~ Fish, poultry and other meats.

Essentially, a good diet should be balanced and provide enough calories and energy for you and your baby. Remember, as the saying goes, you are eating for two!

Alternatives to Breastfeeding
Of you are ill, or otherwise unable to breastfeed, you will have to find an alternative. There are a number of breast-milk alternatives, but you need to still hold your baby and feed it yourself for bonding purposes. Here are some of the breast milk alternatives:

~Soy-based baby formula is a very healthy alternative. However, there are elements of soy that may block the absorption of some nutrients.
~ Rice milk is another option. It has more carbohydrates than cow’s milk but less calcium and protein.

Be sure to consult a doctor before choosing a breast-milk alternative, because your child may need additional nutritional supplements.

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