Ask a Baby Blogger: C-Sections and Bonding After Birth

Question: Do mothers who have c-sections not bond as well with their babies?

This is not a question someone e-mailed me, but rather something that was being discussed in the forums. It’s a very sensitive issue and frankly, I think there has been made much ado about nothing. Bonding is NOT a one time event. It is not this little narrow window of opportunity that once is lost, is gone forever. It is a process and to be honest, I think a lot of people don’t understand what exactly is meant by bonding when they talk about it.

What is Bonding?

In the 80’s, bonding research was ‘cutting edge’. Published maternal-infant bonding research, was what began to change the tide towards more family friendly birthing practices. It moved babies from nurseries to rooming in with mom. I tend to think too, that it helped change the tide towards breastfeeding when it still wasn’t that common.

Maternal infant bonding, in scientific research, refers to a period of time after birth that is highly sensitive for both mother and child. Being in each other’s presence brings benefits for both baby and mom. I’ll point out that many of these benefits are a hormonal response to your baby and vice versa.

Do You Miss Out on Bonding?

In our discussions here there are more than a few moms that swear up and down that you bond just as well with your baby after a c-section that you do after a vaginal birth. I have to say that I’ve never heard a mother who has delivered both vaginally and via c-section say that there is no difference. (I’m sure there’s someone out there that might prove me wrong.) But the truth is, if we refer to bonding as defined scientifically above, you do miss out on that initial hormonal response by necessity.

But I think it is far fetched to say that you don’t bond with your baby after a c-section. While there are certain aspects that are missed due to the surgery, much of what happens after the birth is dependent on the circumstances of the birth. Again, it bears repeating, bonding is not a one time event.

What Is Absolutely Best for Maternal/Infant Bonding

The absolute best thing for maternal infant bonding is. . .(drum roll please) a healthy mother and a healthy baby. Sometimes to achieve this outcome, you have to have a c-section. So really ladies, let’s not worry about whether or not bonding can still happen after a c-section. It’s not a “now or lost forever” moment.

Other Thoughts on Bonding:

Let’s Talk About Elective Cesareans

Bonding with Baby

Planning Your Babymoon

Can I Love Another Baby This Much?

Why Dads Everywhere Should Do Bath Time

Valorie Delp shares recipes and kitchen tips in the food blog, solves breastfeeding problems, shares parenting tips, and current research in the baby blog, and insight, resources and ideas as a regular guest blogger in the homeschooling blog. To read more articles by Valorie Delp, click here.

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