It’s always a delight to see positive news about breastfeeding hit the headlines. The most recent, on May 9th 2011, shows that children who breastfeed for 4 months or more are less likely than their bottlefed peers to be clingy, anxious or have difficulties socialising at the age of 5.
The results follow the nationwide Millenium Cohort Study of around 6000 babies carried out by Oxford University’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, tracking babies born in 2000.
Lead researcher, Maria Quigley, says the results are very clear, even when many other factors are taken into account; but knowing exactly why they come about is less certain. ” … we just don’t know whether it is because of the constituents in breast milk, or the close interaction with the mum,” says Quigley.
What do we think at Babiesknow? We know for sure that secure bonding between mother and baby is supported by breastfeeding and close contact; and that development of the brain and the ability to form relationships and regulate personal emotions are all boosted when there’s a strong bond between mum and baby in the first year. So, in addition to the physical health benefits of breastfeeding, the emotional health benefits are extremely significant – and the results of this study seem to back it up.
We will always encourage and support prolonged breastfeeding, for as long as it feels right for mum and baby.
When mums decide to move to bottledfeeding, we recommend continued close contact, preferably skin-to-skin, and a few quiet, undisturbed feeds during the day, to capitalise on the opportunity for strengthening the mother-baby bond. Bottlefeeding doesn’t have to mean an end to the precious, intimate contact between mum and baby. And let’s not forget the benefits that are also there for dad and baby, who can go skin-to-skin for bottlefeeds and seize the extra opportunity for bonding.
Read more from the Guardian here.