Document Detail

Breastfeeding, brain activation to own infant cry, and maternal sensitivity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21501165     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Research points to the importance of breastfeeding for promoting close mother-infant contact and social-emotional development. Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have identified brain regions related to maternal behaviors. However, little research has addressed the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal behavior in human mothers. We investigated the associations between breastfeeding, maternal brain response to own infant stimuli, and maternal sensitivity in the early postpartum.
METHODS: Seventeen biological mothers of healthy infants participated in two matched groups according to feeding method - exclusive breastfeeding and exclusive formula-feeding at 2-4 weeks postpartum. fMRI scanning was conducted in the first postpartum month to examine maternal brain activation in response to her own baby's cry versus control baby-cry. Dyadic interactions between mothers and infants at 3-4 months postpartum were videotaped in the home and blindly coded for maternal sensitivity.
RESULTS: In the first postpartum month, breastfeeding mothers showed greater activations in the superior frontal gyrus, insula, precuneus, striatum, and amygdala while listening to their own baby-cry as compared to formula-feeding mothers. For both breastfeeding and formula-feeding mothers, greater activations in the right superior frontal gyrus and amygdala were associated with higher maternal sensitivity at 3-4 months postpartum.
CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest links between breastfeeding and greater response to infant cues in brain regions implicated in maternal-infant bonding and empathy during the early postpartum. Such brain activations may facilitate greater maternal sensitivity as infants enter their social world.
Pilyoung Kim; Ruth Feldman; Linda C Mayes; Virginia Eicher; Nancy Thompson; James F Leckman; James E Swain
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2011-04-18
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines     Volume:  52     ISSN:  1469-7610     ISO Abbreviation:  J Child Psychol Psychiatry     Publication Date:  2011 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-07-12     Completed Date:  2011-11-15     Revised Date:  2014-09-05    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0375361     Medline TA:  J Child Psychol Psychiatry     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  907-15     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2011 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
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MeSH Terms
Amygdala / physiology
Brain Mapping / psychology
Breast Feeding / psychology*
Corpus Striatum / physiology
Crying / psychology*
Frontal Lobe / physiology
Infant, Newborn
Magnetic Resonance Imaging / psychology
Maternal Behavior / physiology,  psychology*
Mother-Child Relations
Object Attachment
Postpartum Period / physiology,  psychology*
Grant Support
5K05DA020091/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; K05 DA020091/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; K05 DA020091-05/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; K05 MH076273/MH/NIMH NIH HHS; K05 MH076273-05/MH/NIMH NIH HHS; K05MH076273/MH/NIMH NIH HHS; Z99 MH999999/MH/NIMH NIH HHS

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