Breast milk may be the key to mother-baby bonding, according to research that found that breast-feeding mothers demonstrate stronger brain responses when they hear their baby cry. They’re also more likely than formula-feeding moms to bond with their babies, says a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Researchers at the Child Study Center at Yale University performed functional MRIs (fMRIs) on nine breast-feeding moms and eight formula feeders about a month after their babies were born. Participants listened to clips of their own baby and an unknown child crying, as researchers analyzed which areas of their brains lit up. Breast-feeding mothers registered greater activity in the relevant brain regions than formula-feeding moms, although all mothers’ brains reacted more in response to their own infant’s cries than to an unknown’s.
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