The following is a great new study that reinforces the importance of breastfeeding our babies, not to step on the toes of those who choose not to breastfeed, but this study should make all mothers consider their choice very carefully in light of the findings presented. It is an interesting read.
A New Study from The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
A new study from The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry finds that mothers who feed their babies breast milk exclusively, as opposed to formula, are more likely to bond emotionally with their child during the first few months after delivery. The breastfeeding mothers surveyed for the study showed greater responses to their infant’s cry in brain regions related to caregiving behavior and empathy than mothers who relied upon formula as the baby’s main food source. This is the first paper to examine the underlying neurobiological mechanisms as a function of breastfeeding, and to connect brain activity with maternal behaviors among human mothers.
The fMRI-based findings suggest that breastfeeding and factors associated with breastfeeding, such has high levels of hormones (oxytocin, prolactin), stress, and culture may all play an important role for mothers’ brain activity and parenting behaviors during the early postpartum period. The research shows that up to three or four months after delivery some of the brain regions originally observed at one month postpartum (amygdala, putamen, globus pallidus, and superior frontal gyrus) continued to activate and were correlated with maternal, sensitive behavior among the same group of mothers.
The findings highlight the dramatic relationship between breastfeeding, brain activity and parenting behaviours during the early postpartum period. Lead researcher Dr. Pilyoung Kim, “It is important for loved ones to support mothers and help them cope with challenges related to breastfeeding and parenting during this period. Mothers unable to breastfeed may benefit from extra encouragement to engage in sensitive, caring interactions with baby.”
This is just the abstract version of the article. To read more…..
About Dr. Pilyoung Kim
Pilyoung Kim, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Section on Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, Emotion and Development Branch, at the National Institute of Mental Health. Her Ph.D. studies focused on developmental affective neuroscience. In her developmental psychology work at Yale University, she studied the role of maternal care in childhood on mothers’ brain and changes in brain structure among mothers during the first few months postpartum. She can be reached for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.