Breastfeeding and the mother infant relationship

Breastfeeding and bonding: Building a relationship

breastfeeding and the mother infant relationship

The role of breastfeeding in bonding. Breastfeeding is designed by nature to ensure maternal-infant interaction and closeness. If done without schedules or. tion of breastfeeding with maternal bonding and the mother-infant relationship. Using data from a longitudinal study of mother-infant pairs, bonding and. A hospital-based randomized trial tested the hypothesis that mothers who use soft baby carriers to carry their infants close to their bodies in the first months of life.

It is also important to be careful to distinguish between those factors that are confounders, and those that might best be viewed as mediators or explanatory factors involved in accounting for observed associations between breastfeeding exposure and outcome, such as the quality of the subsequent mother-infant relationship. Although most studies reviewed have attempted to control statistically for some of these differences, very few have controlled extensively for an adequate range of potential confounding factors.

Findings from short-term outcome studies suggest that breastfeeding may have some psychosocial benefits for both mother and infant, as well as for their developing relationship.

Is Breast Milk the Key to Mother-Baby Bonding?

However, effect sizes tend to be small, with care experiences in both groups being very much within the normal range. Mothers who breastfeed have been found to report lower levels of perceived stress and negative mood, higher levels of maternal attachment, and tend to perceive their infants more positively than mothers who formula-feed. Greater activation in the right superior frontal gyrus and amygdala were further correlated with higher levels of maternal sensitive behaviour in a mother-infant interaction at 3 to 4 months.

This is consistent with other studies demonstrating a link between breastfeeding and maternal sensitivity. Finally, after breastfeeding, mothers also report reductions in negative mood compared to mood levels prior to breastfeeding.

In addition, they also tended have better self-regulation, fewer abnormal reflexes and fewer signs of withdrawal than formula-fed infants. Additional support for the possible self-regulatory benefits associated with breastfeeding is also provided by a short-term follow-up study of infants. At present, findings are mixed, with several studies suggesting some limited psychosocial benefits and others not.

In with respect to the quality of mother-infant relations, a prospective longitudinal study of around young New Zealanders found a small but significant association between breastfeeding duration and adolescents' perceptions of maternal care, with a longer duration of breastfeeding being associated with increased adolescent perceptions of maternal nurturance.

Another study of 2, Australian infants assessed at ages 1, 2 3, 5, 8, 10, and 14 years found that infants breastfed for 6 months or longer, had lower externalizing, internalizing, and total behaviour problem scores throughout childhood and into adolescence than never breastfed and infants fed for less than 6 months.

breastfeeding and the mother infant relationship

Given the relatively young ages of children at follow-up assessment, longer term evaluations of these cohorts will be important to see if these findings remain as children enter the more behaviourally challenging late middle childhood and adolescent years when emotional and behavioural problems often become more pronounced. But in general, there is limited and no clear evidence that breastfed babies are at lower risk of developing behaviour or mental health problems in later life.

Mechanisms Several possible mechanisms may account for possible links between breastfeeding and child developmental outcomes. First, breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of childhood illnesses including asthma, ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory disease, and dental carries, as well as improved immune function.

Thus it is possible that caring for a healthier baby may offer greater opportunities for positive mother-infant interaction, and in turn a closer relationship.

Relatedly for mothers, breastfeeding can have positive health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects, increased sleep, decreased stress and possibly better mood, thus potentially helping to support parent engagement and care.

Third, maternal sensitivity and a closer early mother-infant bond as a consequence of increased mother infant contact associated with breastfeeding may also in part explain infant neurobehavioural outcomes in the short, and possibly longer term.

Infant carrying, breast feeding, and mother-infant relations [1987]

Fourth, higher quality maternal interactions have been shown to improve brain development at 5, 10 and 24 months. However, further research and replication is clearly needed. Conclusion Evidence supports a link between breastfeeding and positive mother-infant and neurobehavioural outcomes in the short term. However, the extent to which these early and relatively subtle differences translate into long term differences in psychosocial functioning is less clear. Breastfed infants may be more alert, cry less, and be better able to engage in interactions with their parents than formula-fed infants.

Breastfeeding may also have some stress-reducing properties for mothers and assist parenting confidence.

breastfeeding and the mother infant relationship

Further research is needed to clarify the longer-term benefits of breastfeeding, and potentially with behavioural rather than just questionnaire screening measures. The mechanisms by which these associations arise have not been fully established. However, maternal sensitivity and attachment fostered through breastfeeding is one possibility. Implications for Policy and Services There is ample justification for the value of breastfeeding from studies of the nutritional and cognitive advantages associated with breastfeeding, as well as the psychosocial benefits.

breastfeeding and the mother infant relationship

Increasingly, this information is being incorporated into strategies to promote breastfeeding. Although some research is establishing a relationship between breastfeeding and improved psychosocial functioning, a large number of parent and family factors have also been shown to predict child psychosocial maladjustment.

These include teenage motherhood, maternal educational under-achievement, poverty, parental antisocial behaviour and other mental-health problems, prenatal stress and maternal health, family violence, child abuse and parenting difficulties. Therefore, in order to reduce rates of behavioural and mental health problems among children and youth, broad based community and family intervention strategies, that encourage breastfeeding amongst other strategies, are likely be the most effective approaches.

Breastfeeding in the 21st century: Breastfeeding is positively associated with child intelligence even net of parental IQ.

Breastfeeding and the mother – infant relationship — A review - Semantic Scholar

Breastfeeding and child cognitive development: Long-term behavioural consequences of infant feeding: Effects of prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding on child behavior and maternal adjustment: Long-term effects of breastfeeding: The long-term effects of breastfeeding on child and adolescent mental health: Breast feeding and later psychosocial adjustment.

Factors influencing breastfeeding exclusivity during the first 6 months of life in developing countries: Task-oriented and bottle feeding adversely affect the quality of mother-infant interactions after abnormal newborn screens. Maternal psychosocial well-being in pregnancy and breastfeeding duration. Dubois L, Girard M.

breastfeeding and the mother infant relationship

Social inequalities in infant feeding during the first year of life. Fein SB, Roe B. The effect of work status on initiation and duration of breast-feeding. Determinants of breastfeeding initiation and cessation among employed mothers: Association between breastfeeding support and breastfeeding rates in the UK: Breastfeeding, bonding, and the mother-infant relationship.

Breast-feeding is associated with reduced perceived stress and negative mood in mothers. Breastfeeding duration and postpartum psychological adjustment: The impact of breastfeeding on mothers' attentional sensitivity towards infant distress. Smith J, Ellwood M. Nursing her baby provides her with a blueprint for sensitive parenting in the years to come.

Advantages of breastmilk Nursing couples need each other physically and emotionally.

Is Breast Milk the Key to Mother-Baby Bonding? |

The baby, of course, has a physical need for milk. As scientists have amply documented, breast milk benefits every system in a baby's body. Breastfeeding offers protection against allergies and respiratory infections, and perhaps obesity.

  • Breast feeding and the mother-infant relationship.
  • Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding and the mother – infant relationship — A review

Breastfeeding improves vision and oral development; breastfed babies have fewer ear infections; breast milk is better for the cardiovascular system and kidneys; and babies' intestinal immunity is enhanced by human milk. Juvenile diabetes is less common among breastfed than bottle-fed babies. Breastfeeding enhances a baby's cognitive development, partially because it allows the baby more control in feeding -- the ability to control one's own actions appears to be essential in human development.

The composition of breast milk, too, appears to support optimal brain development. Indeed, recent studies have found that children fed mother's milk as babies have higher IQs, on average, than those fed formula. And, of course, a baby's emotional need for love and reassurance is just as strong as her physical need for milk. Whereas most formula-fed babies are soon taught to hold their own bottles, the breastfed baby is always held by her mother for feedings.

A breastfed baby enjoys not only the comfort of the warm breast, but caressing, rocking, and eye contact before, during, and after feedings. With all her senses, she drinks in her mother's love. Advantages for mom The mother, in turn, has a physical need for the baby to take the milk from her breasts. The let-down of milk is relieving, satisfying, like a drink of water when one is thirsty.