Bonding with your baby
There's a new study out of Yale University that suggests the secret to bonding with your baby is breastfeeding--or at least that's how it's being reported in some media outlets. What the title of the study actually says is: "Breastfeeding, brain activation to own infant cry, and maternal sensitivity." Why, you might ask, am I talking about this? Because there's an inherent tendency on the part of the media to make statements that simply aren't there, all for the sake of a good headline.
What the study found was that there are links between breastfeeding, brain activity and maternal behavior. For instance the women who breastfed exclusively demonstrated stronger brain responses when they heard their baby cry. The researchers did try to match all the women tested in terms of age, education and income levels. But the sample was small (17 moms). And there's another issue. When you breastfeed your hormone levels vary and take longer to get back to pre-pregnancy levels. Not only that, but when you breastfeed, you release more Oxytocin--the so-called "love hormone."
But "bonding" with your baby? I don't know. I think moms who feed their baby a mix of baby formula and breast milk or who only use formula, bond just as much as their breastfeeding colleagues. There are lots of external factors that can influsence bonding or lack of bonding.
Whether you breastfeed or feed your baby formula, the key to bonding is loving them, playing with them, reading to them, and interacting with them etc. I realy don't believe it has much to do with how you feed them or what you feed them.