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Breastfeeding Lowers Maternal Stress

Researchers from Douglas Hospital Research Center in Montreal showed that mothers //who breastfeed their child are more equipped to deal with stressful situations than those who bottle-feed their babies.

Although the benefits of breast-feeding are well established, this is for the first time findings had suggested that breastfeeding is distressing for the mothers as well. Researchers feel that this is good for the mothers as such mothers will be able to concentrate more on their children and have more energy levels to do their other work as well without getting tired or fatigued.

Researchers had studied the stress responses of the 25 mothers of infants who were breastfed versus the same number of mothers who had bottle-fed their newborns. Mothers had either one baby or many other children. They were exposed to a range of stressful situations that ranged from emotional stress of watching a video of lost and hurt children to situations like public speaking and solving mathematical problems. Researchers calculated the level of stress as the amount of the stress hormone cortisol being present in their saliva.

The research findings showed that the mothers who breastfed their children had lower levels of cortisol present in their saliva during the stressful experiences than the mothers who indulged in bottle-feeding their children. This hormone level is all the more low in mothers who had multiple children and had breastfed all of them. The researchers said that the ability to feel less stressful during breastfeeding increases as the mothers become more experienced at breast-feeding their babies.

The researchers feel that their findings will also be relevant for dealing with post partum depression that mothers feel after delivery. Researchers are of the opinion that mothers who breastfeed will be able to deal with their post partum depression better than the mothers who bottle-feed their children.

Source: EurekAlert
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