Posts Tagged ‘breast milk’

Vaginal Birth Triggers Brain Boost, C-Section Doesn’t: Part of Nature’s Plan for Intelligence?

Along with the cascade of benefits that most Mothering readers already know comes with vaginal birth, new research from Yale has identified yet another: vaginal birth triggers the expression of a protein in baby’s brain cells that optimizes development of the hippocampus — an area central to such “complex behaviors in the adult” as learning, memory, and stress response. C-section delivery may actually impair this protein’s expression.

I find it of interest that earlier this year another study came out linking early nurturing by mothers with larger hippocampal regions in school-aged children. And while the Yale study is very preliminary — using mice, not humans — to me it all points to a notion I hold dear: Nature has an elegant plan for the unfolding of optimal human intelligence (including the required brain structures to mediate that intelligence), and it involves such quaintly natural things as birthing through the birth canal and letting mothers closely nurture their young ones! {Please continue reading at}

Of Love & Milk: Facing Our Breastfeeding Ambivalence

Optimal brain development in progressMost parents know mother’s milk is the best nourishment for their babies, but they may not know how really miraculous the biochemistry of breast milk is. Nature has prepared it as a most exquisite elixir, to perfect and complete our journey from one fertilized cell to a young human being. Given the evidence about the comprehensive benefits of nursing our babies, why is there so much ambivalence about breastfeeding? Why do mothers wrestle with the choice of will I or won’t I breastfeed?

This inner tug-of-war about breastfeeding is not a modern burden: (more…)