Why is bonding important?
Let’s share a phenomenon called “hospitalism” which was already described in the 1930s and 1940s by psychoanalyst René Spitz.
Spitz observed babies and infants who were raised without a sensitive and affectionate attachment figure, e.g. infants in a children’s home. He found that those children were often shorter in height and had a smaller head circumference because of reduced brain development.
Our lesson number one is that we should influence the hospital staff to help you feed breastmilk to preterm born babies as early as possible.
For your preterm born baby, growth is even more fundamental for survival, so any kind of emotional care by you, the parents, or by the nurses will improve your baby’s development. Kangaroo care, a method of holding your baby skin-to-skin on your stomach, is very beneficial. It is important that both you and the baby feel comfortable doing this. The skin-to-skin contact will initiate the release of the hormone oxytocin in both the baby’s and your body.
Oxytocin has many positive effects: you and your baby will be more relaxed, you will feel emotionally closer to each other, and the attachment between you will intensify. Oxytocin also increases milk ejection from the mammary glands, which has a positive effect on breastfeeding and milk production overall.