Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Psychological benefits of breastfeeding vs bottle feeding

I had a friend recently ask me if there were any psychological benefits to breastfeeding when compared to pumped breastmilk and then bottle fed. Many times fathers want to be more involved in a childs nutrition in order to create that bond or in some cases the father is the infants sole provider as the mother returns to work. Some families aslo rely on babysitters to bottle feed pumped breastmilk. There are also many times when babies don't latch on to the breast but the mother chooses to pump breastmilk instead of giving formula.
The studies are scarce as many compare breastfeeding with formula feeding in which there is an obvious benefit. There needs to be more studies before we can make a conclusive argument. That aside I would like to highlight the benefit of skin to skin contact between the mother and baby during breastfeeding and how that can later affect the psychological wellfare of the infant. It's also important to note that this same bonding can occur if doing kangaroo care (skin to skin contact without breastfeeding), in which both parents can participate in. The main difference between kangaroo care and breastfeeding at the breast is the frequency as it may be difficult to do kangaroo care of often as if the infant were breastfeeding.

The following in an excerpt from article posted in May 2011,

'The other possible answer, they write, is that "breastfeeding leads to more interaction between the mother and the child, better learning of acceptable behaviours and fewer behavioural problems".
Peter Kinderman, professor of clinical psychology at Liverpool University, called it "a very good piece of research published in an important journal". He said he suspected the mother-child bonding that takes place during breastfeeding might be the most important factor.
"Positive bonding between parent and child is known to be fantastically helpful for development," he said, noting that the authors specifically took into account factors such as childcare arrangements because they are so well-established as important influences in development.
"This is more evidence of the importance of breastfeeding and mother-baby attachment, not just for physical health but also for the psychological development of the child," he said.'

The American Acadamy of Pediatrics briefly highlights the importance of the emotional bond that takes place during breastfeeding.

The following article comments on both the physiological and psychological benefits of breastfeeding. I have highlighted the psychological benefits below.

  • Significant evidence suggests that breast-fed children develop fewer psychological, behavioral and learning problems as they grow older. Studies also indicate that cognitive development is increased among children whose mothers choose to breastfeed.

  • In researching the psychological benefits of breast milk, one researcher found that breast-fed children were, on average, more mature, assertive and secure with themselves as they developed.

  • Here are a couple of great websites for those moms that are pumping then bottle feeding. You will find great tips on which pumps to purchase, how often/long to pump,  how to maintain supply and how to store breastmilk.

    One thing I know for sure is that babies crave close contact. Whether you choose to breast or bottle feed always take the time to cuddle, stroke and talk to your baby during each feed. Your baby will learn from your expressions and feed off of your interactions. Its precious time that we will never get back and I'm the first to admit that I need to "live in the present"!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment