It is common knowledge that the breast is best for infant's health, cognitive, and physical development. Breastfeeding is also better for the environment. A new study from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm also claims that children who were breastfed as infants are better able to cope with stress and have less anxiety. Breastfeeding is good for children's mental health too!
Researchers in Sweden and the United Kingdom collected data on almost 9000 children. They found,
Not surprisingly, children whose parents had divorced or separated were more likely to have high anxiety. But what the researchers found striking was the difference in stress levels between breast-fed and bottle-fed kids. Breast-fed children were significantly less anxious than kids who hadn't nursed at their mother's breast.
The researchers discovered that breastfeeding during the early stages of life enables children to better cope with stress when they are older. It is not clear if the positive results are due to the close physical contact that occurs during breastfeeding, breastfeeding itself, or how breastfeeding may help establish an early bond between mother and child.
My favorite book on breastfeeding is The Nursing Mother's Companion. This was required reading by my midwives, and I am thankful for it. I highly recommend it for any new mother. For more information on breastfeeding, visit our posts:
Initiation of Breastfeeding by the Breast Crawl
Breastfeeding Saves Lives
Is Breastfeeding to Blame?
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