Breastfeeding Brings Out the "Mama Bear" In Moms

By Bunmi on December 7th 2011
The Daily Mail reported recently that scientists have discovered that breastfeeding mothers protect their young in a way that mirrors how grizzly bear mothers protect their cubs. Apparently, moms who nurse their babies are more fearless and maternally aggressive when it comes to looking after their young.

“In what is thought to be the first study of its kind on humans, researchers have shown that breast-feeding helps dampen a woman’s fear by lowering her blood pressure and changing levels of hormones.

They say the effect – known as ‘maternal defence’ – is very similar to that seen used by female bears, lions, deer and even hamsters to fearlessly protect their young from predators.

Although women will probably never need to defend their babies like animals in the wild, researchers say this courage helps them better cope with the stresses of being a mother."

The scientists studied a group of 60 women- a third of whom were breastfeeding, a third of whom were bottle feeding and a third that didn’t have children at all.

“Each was asked to compete in a computer challenge against one of the scientists, who was behaving deliberately rudely while the woman’s child – if she had one – was in an adjoining room.

If the woman won, she was allowed to press a button to make a sound blast to the loser as an act of aggression.

She could press the button as hard and for as long as she liked."

Nursing moms held down the alarm twice as long and made it twice as loud. The study also monitored blood pressure. Nursing moms had blood pressure that was ten points lower than bottle-feeding moms and twelve points lower than women without children.

The benefits of breastfeeding more babies has always been clear- now it seems as if there is a new benefit for moms: decreased stress and increased confidence & courage when it comes to caring for their children.

Read the entire article here: