Mother and Baby
The new mother and baby bond is a very special thing. This bond is what makes a mother willing to defend her child with her own life. It’s the thing that makes a mother rush to her child’s side to comfort them at the slightest sign of distress. The bond between mother and child is what drives a mother to care for and nurture her child.
How Does the New Mother and Baby Bond Happen?
The bond between mother and baby can form in a number of different ways. Just looking at your newborn baby, you’ll feel an almost overwhelming feeling of love and a desire to care for and protect your child. To strengthen the bond and to get your child to bond with you, physical contact is actually very important. Skin-to-skin contact helps a mother and a child strengthen their bond so things like cuddling, breastfeeding, and bathing are moments that will strengthen the new mother – new baby bond.
The sound of your voice can also help your baby bond with you. Talk to your baby, sing to them, read books to them. All of this close contact will help your baby bond with you and they will come to know the sound of your voice and even your scent. Your presence alone will make them feel more at ease.
A Few Tips for Better Mother and Baby Bonding
Spend some time cuddling with your baby immediately after they are born. Unless there is some medical emergency, do not let medical personnel take your baby away from you right after he or she is born. It would be better to try to breastfeed the new baby or to just hold the baby on your chest. After cutting the umbilical cord and suctioning any mucus out of the baby’s mouth and nasal passages, medical personnel should hand baby right back to his or her mother.
We mentioned breastfeeding a moment ago and the reason that is important is that it will actually help strengthen the mother’s bond with the baby. Breastfeeding stimulates the production of a hormone called oxytocin which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a huge role in maternal bonding.
Some Surprising Health Benefits of the Bond Between Mother and Baby
The new mother – new baby bond is important for some reasons that are fairly obvious. The baby needs to be able to trust and feel comfortable around its mother and the mother needs to be willing to care for, nurture, and protect her baby. In addition to the obvious reasons, there is some scientific evidence illustrating a number of other benefits of a strong bond between mother and child.
There are studies showing that a close bond between mother and child can boost the child’s immune system and help prevent disease. There are also studies showing that a strong bond between mother and child can increase a baby’s IQ.
It may seem obvious that a new mother – new baby bond is a very important thing but with all of these additional health benefits, those hugs and kisses may be even more beneficial than we ever imagined.
The bond between mother and baby is precious, no one would argue with that. What may surprise some people however is that there is scientific evidence that a healthy bond between mother and child provides a number of physical and psychological benefits to both mother and baby.
Some Interesting Studies about the Bond between Mother and Baby
In a study conducted at McGill University in Montréal, researchers found that when female rats spent more time licking and cleaning their young, the young rats grew up with a more adventurous temperament and lower stress levels. Young rats that did not have this extra attention exhibited more nervous behavior.
In a study conducted at Ohio State University, researchers spent time cuddling with young rabbits. The extra attention had an effect on the rabbit’s hormone levels. Researchers determined that these rabbits had a lower risk of heart disease because their hormone levels helped protect them against the ill effects of a high cholesterol diet.
Human Studies about the Bond between a Mother and Her Child
In the 1980s, there was a study that followed orphaned children in Romania. The study found that children who lived in an orphanage for more than eight months had higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, than children who were adopted before reaching four months of age.
Another study that was published in 2005 and conducted by the department of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that children who were deprived of sufficient physical contact had different levels of oxytocin and vasopressin. These hormones are linked to social bonding and the study showed the negative effects that neglecting very young children can have.
In a recent study of more than 9000 adults who experienced abuse as children, there were some interesting findings. One-third of the adults have been hospitalized for autoimmune diseases compared to just 8% of the general population. This clearly shows that children who experience trauma at an early age are much more likely to develop certain medical conditions.
The Importance of a Physical Connection between Mother and Baby
Most parents realize that close physical contact with their babies can have a very calming effect. When a baby cries and you pick them up to cuddle with them, it is soothing for the baby. Calming and soothing a baby will help them sleep better and there have even been some studies that show a newborn infant’s brain development may be facilitated by being calm and getting enough sleep.
Physical contact with a baby benefits parents as well. Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby will help reduce a mother’s stress levels and can even lower levels of depression. It is likely that physical contact releases oxytocin which is a hormone that helps relieve pain and makes people feel good. As we mentioned earlier, physical contact with your baby will help keep them calm and help them sleep better which is also very beneficial for parents. When your baby sleeps better, you sleep better too.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that physical contact between a parent and a child is soothing and nurturing. But it is interesting that there are not enough scientific studies that explain how and why the bond between mother and baby is so beneficial.