A new study on breastfeeding found an unusual benefit to mothers and children: the “mama-bear” effect.
Researchers say women who breastfeed are substantially more likely to aggressively protect their infants and themselves than women who use formula to feed their babies, according to a press release from the Association for Psychological Science. Additionally, these “mama-bears” register a lower blood pressure than other women when they behave aggressively. The study was published in the September issue of Psychological Science.
“Breastfeeding has many benefits for a baby’s health and immunity, but it seems to also have a little-known benefit for the mother,” said Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral fellow in the UCLA Department of Psychology. “It may be providing mothers with a buffer against the many stressors new moms face while at the same time giving mothers an extra burst of courage if they need to defend themselves or their child.”
The study also found that the aggression was not out of control.
“Breastfeeding mothers aren’t going to go out and get into bar fights, but if someone is threatening them or their infant, our research suggests they may be more likely to defend themselves in an an aggressive manner.”
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