Psychological and Emotional Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mom and Child


Mother has probably been inundated with details if she has been considering not breastfeeding her new baby. It's a personal choice that only she can make, but the advantages seem to be limitless.


Let's go over all the benefits to both mother and baby before she (mother) decides (or if the mother only needs reassurance that breast milk is the right option for her). Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants, especially the first few days of breastfeeding. It is nutrient-dense, easily digestible, and readily available.


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months, and even after solid foods are added until the baby is at least a year old or both mom and baby agree to stop.


Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) when a child is two years old or longer because the effects last so long. For the best results, these organizations suggest starting as soon as one hour after birth.


Although breastfeeding’s nutritional and physical health benefits are well-known, growing evidence shows that breastfeeding has far-reaching psychological effects on both children and their mothers



Breast Milk Nutritional Value

  • Breast milk contains a wealth of nutritious components, vitamins, enzymes, immune properties, and live antibodies from the mother, all of which are easily absorbed. Antibodies are produced by the mother's more mature immune system in response to the germs she and her baby have been exposed to.


  • These antibodies are absorbed into her milk and help to protect her baby from illness. Immunoglobulin A coats the lining of the immature intestines of the newborn, preventing germs and allergens from passing through. Breast milk is an excellent natural calming substance for babies.



Breastfeeding and Attachment theory - Creating an Emotional Bond between Child and Mom

  • The distance between the child and the mother is ideal for the breastfeeding baby to see her mother's face. Since he is so close to the chest wall, he can hear his mother's pulse, which he recognizes. The familiar warmth of the uterus is replaced by the warmth of the lactating breast.


  • Breastfeeding creates a bond between mother and child that grows stronger with time, once breastfeeding stops, this bond is difficult to re-establish. Breastfeeding mothers and babies have been dubbed "mutual caregivers" by others.


  • The baby is looked after, but he/she also helps the mother to gain essential advantages, such as greater trust in her ability to make independent child-care decisions and fulfill the demands of motherhood while also enjoying it.


  • Cradling, touch, scent, sounds, and movement are all things that babies depend on to feel safe — and even to live. When babies grow older and achieve independence, they cultivate an interest in the world around them, as well as a sense of confidence in it.

  • This is positive emotional development as a result of the bond that is so essential in breastfeeding. Dependence and attachment develop early in life, paving the way for later freedom. Despite this, the bond remains. Breastfed children, especially those between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, tend to remain adequately attached to their parents.


Fights with Postpartum Depression


  • Breastfeeding is a good way to deal with depression. When it comes to breastfeeding, a woman who needs medicine to treat her depression should check with her doctor first. Her doctor will help her avoid taking antidepressants that might damage her baby or reduce her milk supply if she communicates her breastfeeding goals.


  • Breastfeeding will be a part of a woman's recovery plan if her doctor is committed to helping her continue breastfeeding despite her depression.


  • Aside from medications, non-breastfeeding babies have been found to have irregular brain patterns due to maternal depression. Breastfeeding protects babies from irregular brain habits, particularly if the mother is stressed, which is another significant advantage of breastfeeding.


Psychological effects of breastfeeding toddlers


  • The hormones prolactin and oxytocin are produced when a mother breastfeeds her baby. Prolactin creates a soothing, nurturing sensation that allows mothers to unwind and concentrate on their children. Oxytocin encourages a strong bond between the mother and her child.


  • There are proven benefits of breastfeeding for child development. Breastfeeding improves an infant's brain development, according to growing evidence.

  • Breastfeeding alone is the most effective way to boost a baby's brain growth, according to Brown University researchers. Breastfeeding can boost a baby's brain development by 20-30%.


  • Along with that, there are also some social benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for longer periods improves maternal health by allowing for more birth spacing, and it saves thousands of lives each year by lowering the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

  • Higher breastfeeding rates could also pay huge economic dividends, according to a well-known finding.

Emotional Benefits

  • Breastfeeding releases the naturally calming hormones of oxytocin and prolactin, which help the nursing mother relax and feel better.

  • Increased self-esteem and trust

  • Calmness also increased. Breastfed babies cry less and are less likely to get sick as children. Breastfeeding can help a family's physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

  • Breastfeeding facilitates travel. Breast milk is still fresh and at a comfortable temperature.

  • The mother-child relationship is strengthened physically and emotionally. Breastfeeding encourages more skin-to-skin touch, as well as stroking and holding. Many people believe that affectionate bonding during the first years of life will help children and adults avoid social and behavioral issues.

  • Breastfeeding mothers learn to recognize their babies' signs, and babies learn to trust their caregivers. This aids in the development of the infant's early behavior.

Negative effects of breastfeeding on mom


Breastfeeding has been shown to affect mothers' mood and stress reactivity. Breastfeeding mothers, in particular, report lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress when compared to formula-feeding mothers.

The following are some of the most commonly discussed disadvantages of breastfeeding:

  • Breastfed babies require more frequent feedings.

  • Dietary restrictions may apply

  • It's not always enjoyable to nurse in public.

  • It can be inconvenient and painful.

  • Mostly, the mother has no idea how much milk the baby is getting.

  • Breastfeeding requires special clothing for a new mother.

Verdict

  • Breastfeeding has so many advantages that most health organizations advocate it for anyone for as long as possible unless there are medical reasons to avoid it.

  • Antibodies and other components in breast milk protect the baby from infection and chronic disease. If a new mother is willing, it's the best start one can make.

  • Furthermore, we cannot overlook the significant advantages to mom in terms of wellbeing and comfort.

  • Whatever decision the mother makes, the health professional will help her find the best solutions and options.


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