Breast-Feeding Bond Lingers for Mom

From - October 31, 2017

Breast-Feeding Bond Lingers for Mom

TUESDAY, Oct. 31, 2017 -- The longer a new mom breast-feeds, the stronger her maternal bond may be with her child years later, a new study suggests.

The 10-year study of nearly 1,300 families in the United States found that women who breast-fed their children longer had more maternal sensitivity well past their children's infant and toddler years.

New moms in the study breast-fed for an average of 17 weeks. Fewer than 1 percent breast-fed for 2 years and 29 percent did not breast-feed at all, the study found. Researchers then interviewed and videotaped families in their homes periodically until their child turned 11.

Maternal sensitivity includes a mother's responsiveness to her child, her emotional tone, her flexibility in her behavior and her ability to read her child's cues.

"It was surprising to us that breast-feeding duration predicted change over time in maternal sensitivity," said study author Jennifer Weaver, from Boise State University in Idaho.

"We had prior research suggesting a link between breast-feeding and early maternal sensitivity, but nothing to indicate that we would continue to see effects of breast-feeding significantly beyond the period when breast-feeding had ended," she added.

Weaver's comments were contained in a news release from the American Psychological Association.

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