Love Hormones and Better Sleep: The Hidden Benefits of Breastfeeding | Health.

Breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is not only a natural and beautiful process but also essential for the health and well-being of both mother and baby. It plays a crucial role in creating intimacy and bonding between the mother and her child, fostering a deep emotional connection that has numerous psychological benefits. This nurturing embrace can lower stress levels, increase feelings of calm, and promote a sense of love and attachment between the mother and baby.

According to Khusbu Jha, a Lactation Expert and Physiotherapist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in New Delhi’s Kailash Colony, breast milk is a powerhouse of nutrients that infants need in the first 6 months of life. It contains essential components like fat, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water, which are easily digested and efficiently utilized by the baby. Furthermore, breast milk also contains bio-active factors that strengthen the infant’s immature immune system, offering protection against infections and aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption.

In addition to the physical benefits, breastfeeding also has profound effects on the mental and emotional well-being of both mother and baby. It can help lower inflammation levels, reduce the risk of diabetes and sleep disorders, and promote better sleep in mothers. The release of hormones like prolactin and oxytocin during breastfeeding fosters a peaceful and nurturing environment, allowing mothers to relax and strengthen their bond with their baby. Breastfeeding can also lead to fewer instances of childhood illness and create a lasting bond between mother and child through skin-to-skin contact, holding, and stroking.

Research suggests that breastfeeding offers a wide range of benefits for babies, including a stronger immune system, reduced risk of digestive issues, lower rates of respiratory illnesses, improved cognitive development, and enhanced motor skills. Additionally, breastfeeding can lay the foundation for better thought processes, language skills, and emotional well-being in children.

Creating a bond between mother and baby before feeding is essential for fostering a nurturing environment and establishing a strong connection. Skin-to-skin contact, holding the baby close, talking to, and cuddling the baby are all critical components of building this bond. These moments not only benefit the baby by regulating heart rate and breathing but also release oxytocin in mothers, promoting feelings of love, attachment, and relaxation.

Making eye contact with the baby while breastfeeding and using your voice to bond can further enhance the connection between mother and child. By engaging in these interactions, mothers can strengthen the emotional bond with their baby and contribute to their social and cognitive development. Breastfeeding is not just about providing essential nutrients; it is a holistic approach to nurturing the relationship between mother and child, leading to a lifetime of health and well-being for both.

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