The Stress-Busting Power of Breastfeeding

No doubt, breastfeeding is the best thing you can do to ensure your baby's better health as well as your own. A new study shows how breastfed babies grow up to handle stress far better than those whose nourishment comes early on from a bottle.

Swedish researchers studied the emotional benefits of breastfeeding over a decade on some 9,000 children who were coping with the marital problems of their parents. At age 10, teachers rated the anxiety of the study participants on a 0-50 scale.

In general, children who were breast-fed -- even for a few weeks -- coped much better with the prospect of stressful situations like divorce than those fed from a bottle. More importantly, children retained this benefit even if they came from poorer backgrounds or their mothers were struggling with depression.

For example, children who weren't breastfed were nine times more likely to be harmed by the stress that comes with parents divorcing, while the breastfed group, with hidden reserves of resilience was only twice as likely to be stressed.

Breastfeeding has a great impact on reducing your child's risks of obesity too.

Archives of Disease in Childhood August 3, 2006

MSNBC August 2, 2006

Guardian Unlimited August 3, 2006

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