Published on January 27, 2009 at 1:38 AM
Dr. Strathearn says it is known that oxytocin has a powerful effect on the brain and makes people less anxious and stressed and calmer, trusting and more connected.
Dr. Strathearn says the factors that help shape the development of the oxytocin system in the brain may predispose to successful breastfeeding and nurturance of the baby and understanding early relationship factors that may help prevent maternal neglect, which is very important for society both in developing intervention strategies for mothers and preventing possible long-term developmental problems for children.
The research team included Dr. Abdullah Mamun and Dr. Jake Najman from the University of Queensland, Australia and Dr. Michael O'Callaghan of Mater Misericordiae Children's Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.
The research was supported by grants from the Queensland Government Department of Child Safety, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the United States National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
There is a solid body of research which supports the many benefits of breast feeding for both mother and child - premature babies especially gain more benefit from breast milk and mothers who breastfeed have fewer episodes of post-delivery depression, lose weight easily after pregnancy and are less likely to have cancer of the breast and ovarian cancer, anaemia and osteoporosis.
The study is published in the February 09 issue of medical journal Pediatrics.