Brains of Breast-Feeding Moms More Responsive to Baby’s Cries
In a finding thatِ won’t surprise manyِ mothers, a newِ study saysِ breast-feeding mayِ helpِ secure theِ bond betweenِ mother andِ child.
But theِ study alsoِ offers oneِ explanation how: throughِ a change inِ the mother’s brain.
The brains ofِ breast-feeding mothers show a greater response toِ theِ sound ofِ their babies’ cries thanِ doِ the brains ofِ mothers whoِ doِ not breast-feed, theِ study researchers say.
This boost in brain activity is seen in brain regions associated with mothering behaviors.
The finding adds toِ a growing list ofِ the benefits ofِ breast-feeding.
Breast milk isِ considered theِ bestِ source ofِ nutrition forِ babies, andِ breast-feeding hasِ beenِ linked withِ betterِ test scores andِ better health forِ the child laterِ inِ life.
The study mayِ helpِ people toِ recognize thatِ it’sِ important toِ support mothers whoِ doِ want toِ breast-feed, saidِ study researcher Pilyoung Kim, ofِ the National Institute ofِ Mental Health.
An infant’s cry
Kim andِ her colleagues examined 17 newِ mothers.
Nine ofِ the mothers breast-fed whileِ theِ otherِ eightِ used formula toِ feed theirِ babies.
The researchers alsoِ examined theِ mothers’ behavior inِ the home.
The brain regions activated inِ the study mayِ beِ responsible forِ empathy.
So high activity inِ these regions mayِ contribute toِ theِ breast-feeding mother’s ability toِ understand howِ herِ own infant isِ feeling andِ respond inِ anِ appropriate way, theِ researchers say.
These brain regions areِ definitely doingِ something toِ helpِ process theِ information andِ perhaps motivate theِ mothers toِ exhibit moreِ caregiving behaviors, Kim said.