Breastfeeding: The Stress Buster That Lasts for Years
Breastfeeding offers a host of benefits to both mother and baby, including a stronger immune system for the baby and faster weight loss for mom. There are even some known psychological benefits from breastfeeding, such as a stronger parent-child bond.
But British researchers have recently discovered another mental bonus — children who are breast-fed seem to cope with stress and anxiety more effectively when they reach school age.In a group of almost 9,000 children between the ages of 5 and 10, children who weren't breast-fed and whose parents were getting divorced or separated were 9.4 times more likely to be highly anxious when compared to other children. But, children who were breastfed as infants whose parents were getting divorced were only 2.2 times as likely to be highly anxious, the study found.Breast-feeding is associated with resilience against the psychosocial stress linked with parental divorce/separation, the study's authors concluded in a recent issue of the Archives of Diseases in Childhood.The authors theorized that the physical contact between mother and child in the first few days of life could help form certain neural and hormonal pathways that affect a person's ability to cope with stress later in life.
Whatever the reason for the association, it was clear that children who had been breastfed were less stressed.