|Subject: Bonding after delayed breastfeeding
My name is Tasneem. I am a first time mummy. I
have a little girl who Is now three months old. When she was born I
couldn't breastfeed. I began when she was two months old. Could this
affect the bond between the two of us?
Thanking you. Awaiting your reply.
While it is certainly best to establish
breastfeeding at birth, that does not mean bonding will never happen
later, or that it will never be as deep or as satisfying as it might
have been under happier circumstances.
Nursing is not the only way to establish a close
emotional bond; if it were, fathers would never bond with their infants,
yet many fathers do so. Even for a breastfeeding mother, it is not only
the nursing that establishes a bond, but the warmth in her eyes, the
direct eye contact, the loving caresses, the gentle holding, the
compassionate responding to cries, and above all, the delight she
expresses in both verbal and non-verbal ways.
Despite the myriad benefits of breastfeeding and
my passionate efforts to educate new mothers of these benefits, I would
rather see an infant receive truly loving care from a bottle-feeding
mother than abusive care from a nursing mother. Of course, these extreme
examples are unlikely, because breastfeeding requires holding, and also
triggers nurturing behavior through an increase of oxytocin (the
"hormone of love") in the mother. My point is that it is the
love that is the most important factor.
It would be important to avoid all use of bottles,
and nurse your child until she no longer needs it. Sleeping next to her
and allowing her to nurse on demand will also help to maximize bonding
and to establish a successful nursing relationship.
My advice? Congratulate yourself that you've been
able to nurse your baby despite an early setback. Recognize that you've
done all that you can, allow yourself to grieve for what might have
been, take delight in your baby now, and make up for "lost
time" by learning about the benefits of extended nursing. An
excellent book for you now would be one my personal favorites, Mothering
Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner.
Babies are extremely forgiving and resilient.
Could it be that the early hormonal "bonding" is of particular
benefit to the mother in helping her process the transition to
Babies seem always ready to accept love, and have
to bond with someone or something for their survival.