Bonding: a lifelong connection

The deep and exclusive relationship between mother and child begins from the first months of pregnancy

The term “bonding” was coined in the United States, towards the end of 1970, to describe the unique and indissoluble bond formed between mother and child. It derives from the verb “to bond”, which means to join, solder, get emotionally closer, fully representing the deep and exclusive relationship that lasts over time between two individuals.

For this to happen, it is necessary to guarantee close contact between parents and the newborn child from the very first moments after birth. The neonatologist Marshall H. Klaus and the paediatrician John H. Kennel, authors of the book Mother-Infant Bonding, say that «the best time to ensure a good start of bonding are the two hours after birth», where the state of health of mother and child allows it.

Putting the newborn baby in the mother’s arms, in skin-to-skin contact, allows the baby to recognize the maternal familiar scent and to calm down, thus acquiring the necessary security to reach the mother’s breast and start breastfeeding (a phenomenon called breast-crawl). At the same time, skin-to-skin contact helps the baby to stabilise its body temperature and heart rate.

Bonding is also a fundamental moment for mothers. In the first two hours after childbirth, in fact, in the mother’s body a series of hormones are in circulation that play a specific role: oxytocin reaches its peak, stimulated by lactation, and thus favours the expulsion of the placenta; endorphins determine sensations of pleasure and gratification; while prolactin acts on maternal “nesting” and caring behaviour.

Bonding between mother and child is also possible in situations where the newborn baby has to be separated from the mother immediately after birth. Even in the presence of health equipment (for example the incubator) it is possible to have a moment of intimacy with the baby, through olfactory contact (putting a garment worn by the mother near it), through voice, looks and caresses, until it is finally possible to hold him.

Actually, the process of bonding begins from the first months of pregnancy, during which mom and dad caress the bump, talking and singing to the baby.

Bonding is a lifelong connection, just like the umbilical cord that unites mother and baby already in the womb. Find out more about the importance of your baby’s umbilical cord and especially the potential of the stem cells it contains: contact Nescens Swiss Stem Cell Science now.