Your newborn also benefits from the physical closeness of nursing. Thrust from the close, dark womb into an overwhelming experience of bright lights, loud noises, and new smells, your baby needs the reassurance of your continued physical presence.
By holding him safe in your arms and giving nourishment from your body, you offer him a sense of continuity from pre- to post-birth life. Gazing into your eyes, your baby comes to understand that he is loved and protected and that you are there to provide for his needs as he adjusts to this new world.
In addition, breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that promote mothering behaviors. This emotional bond is as vital as the nutritional benefit he receives from you. Scientists now tell us that infants learn best in a context of emotional closeness with an adult. Breastfeeding promotes a growing attachment between the two of you that will continue to play an important role in your baby’s development for years to come.