Bonding During Feeding – It’s Not Just for Moms Anymore

Bonding with your newborn is one of the earliest building blocks of a lasting relationship. Bonding encourages parents to nurture and shower their baby with affection, and helps babies develop a sense of security. Because of its intimate nature, feeding time provides a prime opportunity for bonding.

Traditional images of babies feeding show a loving mother cradling her baby, feeding with a bottle or with her breast. However, feeding time is also a great opportunity for other family members to bond, as well, including dads, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or anyone else important in the child’s life.

Whether you’re bottle feeding with breast milk or formula, here are three simple things you can do to enhance the bonding experience:

  1. Kangaroo Care: Skin-to-skin contact with a baby (otherwise known as “kangaroo care”) helps boost your levels of oxytocin, the hormone sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” Try cradling the baby with bare arms and holding the baby while they wear only a diaper to increase skin-to-skin touching during feedings.
  2. Relax: Make sure both you and the baby are relaxed. Minimize distractions or interruptions by turning off the TV and putting down the phone. Consider putting on soothing music or white sound to create a relaxing atmosphere for you and the baby.
  3. Engage: Look the baby directly in the eyes, and smile, sing to, or chat with them. This associates positive, satisfying activities such as feeding with your face and touch.