Breastfeeding News – Elton John, maternal bonding, Haiti, and more!

A very exciting study came out recently in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry that looked at the response of mothers to their babies, and it found that mothers that exclusively breastfeed their babies have a greater emotional response to their infants, including greater empathy, and a greater response to hearing their baby cry.  The researchers believe that this is due to the hormones released during breastfeeding: oxytocin and prolactin, and that this heightened response lasts for a while, at least for the 3 to 4 months that the researchers tested.  This is not to say that formula feeding mothers are unable to bond with their infants, just that breastfeeding mothers appear to have hormonal changes in their brains that facilitates this bonding.  It also shows how important it is for society to support breastfeeding mothers, and to allow them time to nurture this relationship.

Elton John and his partner David Furnish made the news this week – with the announcement that they’re flying in expressed breastmilk from the States!  Their son’s surrogate mother pumps daily and sends it via FedEx! Talk about dedication! What a fantastic start for this little guy.

This heartbreaking piece from Haiti looks at the human cost of “let gate” – bad milk- the idea that a mother’s milk is tainted or harmful for her baby, and the most common reason that mothers in Haiti stop breastfeeding.

A company in North Carolina apologized for asking Jess Lanham, a breastfeeding mother, to nurse in the toilet or in a different facility. The company said they will be training their employees to have a greater sensitivity towards breastfeeding women.  I find this article particularly poignant, as each week I’m asked by new moms about breastfeeding in public.  Despite the laws in many states supporting a woman’s right to nurse in public, it’s amazing how public perception is still so negative about something as natural as nurturing a child.  It’s a shame that instead of having breastfeeding be something that society is supportive of, it becomes associated with sexualized or dirty acts – requiring each mother to be bold enough to advocate for herself and her rights.  As Jess Lanham, the mother who was asked to move to the restroom commented, “Why is it OK to sexualize breasts, but no OK to use them as nature intended?”

Milk banks are just all over the news this week! It’s great that they’re getting so much publicity these days!

Finally, this editorial on how “Babies were born to be breastfed” includes a brief history of how infant formula developed.