How Does Breastfeeding Affect Mom’s Brain?

Moms go through so many changes during pregnancy and especially after giving birth. You must have already heard of “Mom Brain” or becoming more forgetful because of all the hormones brought about by pregnancy. But is “Mom Brain” really all about instances of memory loss? While breastfeeding is known to benefit your baby’s cognitive development,  what about its effect on Mom? We did some research and here’s what we discovered about how breastfeeding triggers certain changes or developments in a Mom’s brain. Read on!

Your Brain Produces Happy Hormones
Breastfeeding Moms have an increase of what are known as the happy hormones, namely, oxytocin and prolactin. Oxytocin and prolactin are responsible for stimulating milk production. Some studies also show how oxytocin has an impact on human behavior such as establishing and strengthening that special bond between Mom and Baby. The act of your baby suckling on your breasts triggers the happy hormones to forge new paths in your brain that make you connect or relate with your little one in a way that no one else can. That overwhelming and bursting feeling of love is your brain sending signals throughout your body as you make contact with your baby!

 

You Become More Sensitive to Baby's Needs
As you’re breastfeeding, you develop an instinct for detecting your baby’s needs such as knowing how much milk your child wants or their hunger cues. You become more perceptive and aware of what your baby wants because regions in your brain that are associated to behaviors such as nurturing, empathy, motivation, and reasoning have greater activity.

 

You Become More Positive
Studies show that breastfeeding Moms have reduced levels of anxiety and stress. Generally, since breastfeeding is correlated to an increase in happy hormones this usually means Moms would tend to have more positive feelings like calmness. As a result, positive feelings and responses associated with breastfeeding can also help improve other social relationships. But let us all remember that every breastfeeding journey is different and highly personal. There are also Moms who experience anxiety induced by breastfeeding, and sometimes, stress can still be present especially when you’re worried about things such as if your baby is getting enough milk. Breastfeeding really isn’t easy, and no one is a pro at it instantly. The rewarding moments may come later on, and that’s okay!

 

You Develop that Protective Maternal Behavior
Since breastfeeding heightens your instincts, it also helps you develop that sense of protectiveness. Some research has suggested that a Mom’s brain responds strongly and lovingly to her Baby’s cries, and so you are able to have a greater understanding of their feelings. Breastfeeding is said to trigger a response in your brain that stimulates you to prioritize and be highly attentive to your Baby’s needs and this includes making sure they are always safe and protected from any harm whether that’s social, physical, or environmental.

 

Overall, Mom’s brain (and heart) just keeps growing in love, care, and joy. Mom brain means making more space to welcome your little one in your life and becoming someone they fully trust, cherish, and rely on.

This is just one of the many wonders of breastfeeding. If you are interested in discovering more tips and information, go ahead and browse other Breastfeeding articles.

 

Sources:
Krol, Kathleen., Grossman, Tobias. Psychological effects of breastfeeding on children and mothers. 22 June 2018.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby and for Mom. 01 January 2018.

Kim, Pilyoung., Kinsley, Craig. The Real Mommy Brain: New Mothers Grew Bigger Brains After Giving Birth.

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