What is Bonding? Has It Changed?
What is bonding, the very heart of species survival or a nice sentiment? Are the experiences we call bonding or attachment the same today as 100 years ago, before commercial interests made it shameful to breastfeed, fetal monitors and surgical-cesarean births? What is the relationship between nurturing and bonding? Do stronger bonds result in greater nurturing? Is reduced bonding a prescription for generational cycles of neglect and abuse? Critical questions are being raised by visionaries in the field of human development. What are the consequences of interfering with bonding and nature’s expectation for nurturing?
New research shows that breast-feeding mothers are more likely than formula-feeding moms to bond with their infants. They also demonstrate stronger brain responses when they hear their baby cry. This same research suggests that women who don’t breastfeed are perhaps less empathic, less attentive, more likely to ignore, neglect and abuse their children. See research abstract.
Joseph Chilton Pearce has been ranting about industrialized birth practices for years. He believes hospital birthing practices are interfering with species survival by interfering with and often preventing natural bonding to take place. See Joe’s brilliant summary.
James W. Prescott, PhD, and many others describe how pleasure hormones experienced during birth and breast feeding play a critical role in mother-infant bonding. See Pearce, Prescott, Mendizza Pleasure Bonds
The presence of these hormones for love and altruism reaches its peak moments after birth when the mother makes direct skin to skin and eye-to-eye contact with her baby. The ecstatic feelings produced by this flood of pleasure are shared by mother and baby as they connect out of the womb for the very first time. This euphoria establishes a strong and addictive biological bond which changes the brains of mother and baby. And this near orgasmic biological-hormonal bond is repeated and reinforced throughout the first years of life during breastfeeding, though at lower levels.
In an interview with Michel Odent, MD, renowned for his research in birth physiology, Odent observed that synthetic counterfeit of this ‘bonding hormone cocktail’ is used routinely during induced and cesarean delivery. These synthetic counterfeits trigger some of the physical effects, such as stimulating strong contractions BUT block and prevent this critical and natural ecstatic bonding experience. It simply doesn’t happen and the new mother never knew what she was missing.
Of course she feels ‘bonded’ to her child as every good mother will. But is her experience of bonding and attachment the same as those that took place for millions of years of mammalian life? The breastfeeding and other research suggests it is not and if not what are the consequences personally and for humanity?
These and other critical questions will be explored in our telesymposium with Gabor Mate, James Prescott, and others later this week.
Please read on
On Nurturing from
Strange Loops and Gestures of creation
by Joseph Chilton Pearce
“A humankind abandoned in its earliest formative stage
becomes its own greatest threat to its survival.”
Maria Montessori, M.D
Precisely as Maria Montessori warns, we were so immediately absorbed in surviving the results of our own reactive patterns – brought on by failure of nurturing – that we had no time, energy or interest to reflect on how or what happened, or was happening, to us. This is our condition today, where such loss and projection onto others “out there” of the causes of such loss, has been replicated age by age. Our survival concerns have greatly expanded and changed with the times, since the sharper this new intellect of ours, the deeper our crisis.
And we are getting correspondingly smarter intellectually while less intelligent. Intellect, a head-based operation incorporating ever more complex variations and applications, each needing further explications and qualifications, has become separated from intelligence – the automatic and natural state of the heart which brings coherence.