Research shows that when a baby is stressed or lacks maternal care his brain is coated with a large dose of cortisol. Cortisol can shrink the learning center of the brain, and cortisol can cause the dendrites to atrophy. This helps to explain why cortisol is associated with severely delayed development. This is why we have seen on television Romanian orphaned babies rocking in their cribs or teens moving constantly in what is called the “dance of neglect.”
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the mother protects her baby against these harmful effects just by her presence. With breastfeeding mothers are present and a breastfeeding mother soon learns that her baby thrives on maternal intimacy, that her baby loves to be with her.
One of my favorite books is The War Against the Family by William Gairdner because he states how we can have healthy individuals in our society. In his opinion, the kind of care needed for healthy individuals depends on the mother providing a care that is uninterrupted, intimate, and continuous for her child during the early months and early years.
This kind of care is almost always provided to each child if his mother breastfeeds him as nature intended.
Next week: Breastfeeding and Crime Prevention
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor, 2008
Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing, 2008, classic 1974 edition
Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood, 2005