For years medical experts have boasted about the added nutritional benefits that natural breast milk has over formula—studies show it can promote healthier brains, a stronger immunity system, can help regulate your infant’s metabolism for life (lowering chances of obesity) and may even prevent your baby from developing asthma. These are all perks that can be extremely beneficial to premature babies who are at a greater risk of contracting illnesses and other ailments as they grow older.
Granted, not all mothers have the option to breastfeed. But for those that can: if the health boosters listed above isn’t enough to convince you to breastfeed, maybe this will—mothers who breastfeed typically have a stronger relationship with their children due to oxytocin, a hormone that is released in your milk.
Oxytocin was originally dubbed as the “love” hormone because it’s released when couples have skin-to-skin contact, especially during sexual intercourse. Oxytocin is what pretty much makes new couples learn to trust each other and prompts them to want to cuddle and be affectionate. But oxytocin is also known as the “bonding” hormone because it’s what makes mothers instantly fall in love with their newborns and encourages them to drown their baby with hugs and kisses.
It’s released in large dosages when a child is passed through the birthing canal. This is why studies suggest mothers of caesarian births take a longer time to bond with their newborns than mothers who have canal births. But that same hormone is also released in a mother’s breast milk. This is why breastfed babies typically have a stronger connection with their mothers than those who are formula fed.
But having an extra secretion of hormones via breastfeeding won’t only make that foundation stronger with you and your child, but it can also help you stay sane as well. Research shows that women with higher levels of oxytocin are less likely to suffer from postpartum or develop mental issues like schizophrenia in the future.
Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and best online schools. She welcomes your comments at her email: lopezjemima562 @ gmail.com.