- Newborns have a natural reflex to facilitate successful feeding
- They instinctively suck anything that touches their lips or roof of their mouth (nose, cheek, collar etc)
- Suckling is soothing for them and breastfed babies can choose to suckle without drinking any milk . This is also known as comfort feeding
- Breastfeeding provides security for newborns whilst they adjust to life in the outside world
- When in the womb, they’re in a protected environment where temperature is regulated for them, they don’t feel hungry and they hear the constant sound of mum’s heartbeat and voice.
- After birth, they are no longer in that secure environment, their bodies have to learn to breathe, and for the first time they feel cold/hot/hungry.
- It’s changed from being warm and quiet to bright and noisy.
- The only thing that’s familiar to them is mum, her smell, her heartbeat and her voice.
3. Comfort When Unwell
- Breastmilk is full of antibodies that help boost their immune system, it helps babies fight off infections and recover quickly.
- The breastmilk changes according to baby’s needs, for example, if mum gets an infection, her antibodies will be passed on to baby to build their immunity.
- Breastmilk has a high-water content so when baby is ill, they regularly feed to keep hydrated, which can help them recover quicker
- Breastmilk is known to have analgesic properties – so it’s a natural pain killer
- Skin-to-skin releases oxytocin levels which is the anti-stress hormone, this helps babies stay relaxed & calm.
- Breastmilk contains melatonin, which is the sleep hormone.
- Researchers believe that this helps baby’s natural melatonin level and help baby sleep.
- Breastfed babies are less like to have colic and also sleep better at night because melatonin has a relaxing effect on the muscles as well.