We all have that comfort food that satiates our soul in a way that cannot possibly be described. For your baby, breast milk is that soul food, serving as incredible liquid gold that provides as much nutrition as it does comfort. Much like you draw solace from comfort foods when you’re stressed or anxious, breast milk goes far beyond its role as a paediatric super-food. It restores a sense of fulfillment in babies and helps you in building a lasting bond with your little one.
In this little article, we give you five reasons why nursing is a psychological process as much as it is a physiological one.
While breastfeeding refers to the process of providing nourishment to your baby through the breast, nursing is an emotional journey that encompasses much more. The warmth of your body against your baby’s, the signature fragrance of your skin, the sound of your voice and the rhythm of your heart; all of these envelope your baby in a blanket of familiar comfort. So, when your baby calls out for a feed, she isn’t only craving food; she is also seeking a familiar environment that she is tuned to thrive in.
You may notice that your baby continues sucking on your breast well after she has completed her feed. This is called non-nutritive sucking and it is a process that allows your baby to feel connected, comforted and secure in your arms. It’s important to let your baby take her time after a feed. Allow her to follow organic motions, sucking for longer if she wants to. Babies that are separated from the breast immediately after a feed tend to resort to thumb-sucking, indicating that they need a soothing element to hold on to.
The sucking motion during breastfeeding can alleviate pain in babies, according to new research. A study conducted recently noted that infants that were breastfed during a medical procedure were less likely to react to pain during this time. Extend this philosophy to when your baby is ill, and you’ll notice similar behavioural displays. Babies seek maternal comfort when they are ill, looking for skin-to-skin contact, nutritive and non-nutritive sucking and physical proximity.
Breastfeeding is a natural sleep-inducing tool. The gentle rhythm of a breast feed can send both a tired baby and a sleepy mommy into dreamy slumber.
A feeding session serves as a window that allows your baby to get to know you better. As you nurse her, she may study your expressions, trace your face with her fingers or listen to your voice. Your time spent nursing will bring you closer to your little one and you’ll find your baby organically feeding off your energy during these sessions. Many of her verbal and interpersonal skills as she grows will also be products of your engagement with her during your feeds.
Breastfeeding can be tiring and can take a physical toll on your body if you’re not careful. But these days are short-lived and special; savour them while you can. Because you know what they say. Breast milk isn’t just breast milk; it’s a vessel of liquid love that will leave you and your baby nourished for a lifetime.
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