Attachment in Breastfeeding Versus Formula Feeding
According to John Bowlby, infants are born with an innate need to maintain a close proximity to a primary caregiver “to protect an individual against physical and psychological threats and alleviate distress” (Bowlby, 2008, as cited in Amani, 2016, p. 510). Bowlby defines attachment as “the emotional bond between infant and caregiver, who is typically the mother” (Bowlby, 2008, as cited in Amani, 2016, p. 506). One way infants foster attachment to their caregiver is through their feeding process, such as breastfeeding or formula feeding. According to Hockenberry and Wilson (2015), “the most outstanding psychological benefit of breastfeeding is the close maternal-child relationship” (p. 277). Whereas, formula feeding “denies the infant the important component of close human contact” (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2015, p. 280). The purpose of this Evidence-Based Practice Brief is to compare mother-infant bonding when exclusively breastfeeding as compared to formula feeding. With information gathered, nurses will be able to effectively educate patients on breastfeeding and formula feeding as related to mother-infant bonding through the assessment and implementation phase of the nursing process.