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From the "Good Grief!" Files

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, August 04, 2006

First it was bedwetting, now it's divorce...


Basically: don't stress yourself over the impact your divorce may have on your kids, cause hey! you breastfed and that means they'll cope a little better!


"In children who are breast-fed, there is less of an association between parental divorce and separation and childhood anxiety," Dr Scott Montgomery, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said in an interview.

In an observation study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, Montgomery and his team studied how breast- and bottle-fed 10-year-olds coped with the stress of their parents' marital problems.

The children were among 9,000 youngsters who had been monitored from birth for a major British study. Their teachers were asked to rate their anxiety level on a scale of 0-50.

There was a higher level of stress in all the children but the breast-fed youngsters coped better.

Seriously, aren't there enough benefits to breastfeeding for us to not have to resort to this kind of stuff to help "promote" breastfeeding? This article and even the study just rub me the wrong way...


  1. Anonymous Sara | 12:09 PM |  

    First of all, thanks for having this blog! I always look forward to finding new entries on it.

    In regard to the study, I actually thought it was kind of sweet to think that our children will still derive comfort from breastfeeding, albeit indirectly, even when they're much older. I didn't read it as using breastfeeding as insurance for a kid's emotional health during divorce specifically, but rather as providing kids with a better ability to cope during stressful situations in general. I imagine that the researchers chose to look at stress caused by divorce because it was easy to find subjects who have gone through it.

    Anyway, maybe that's how I choose to see it b/c I'm assuming that these children felt more secure b/c of a strong bond with their parents which resulted from mothering through breastfeeding. I didn't feel much emotional connection with my parents as a child, and so the article gave me a lot of hope that my daughter won't feel that way about me.

  2. Blogger Hmmm... | 7:05 AM |  

    The study didn't actually link breastfeeding to the lack of stress response. The abstract from it was a lot less conclusive than the media reports.

    ****Breast feeding is associated with resilience against the psychosocial stress linked with parental divorce/separation. This could be because breast feeding is a marker of exposures related to maternal characteristics and parent-child interaction****

    Another point, is that *most* children do fine with divorce depending on several factors unrelated to breastfeeding, including the length of time they were exposed to parents who needed a divorce and whether or not the father continues to be an active participant in the childrens lives.

    I agree with the lactivist here. Lets figure out some of the things that breastmilk actually does.

  3. Blogger K | 5:31 PM |  

    ANother interesting thing from the study itself that was not found in the press reporting or the abstract was that breastfeeding was defined as amount amount of breastfeeding. While data was collected on the length of breastfeeding, there was no dpse response to the "reduces stress" effect of breastfeeding, meaning it did not matter if one was breastfed for a day or three years.

    This suggests that there is something about the parenting style of folks who chose to start off breastfeeding and not something "in the milk" itself that conveys the improved coping ability.

    As an UTBF mom who quit BF far to early -- I found this somewhat comforting.

    But I am likewsie with The Lactavist on this -- I like the research that tells us about the properties of BM and how it affects current and future health.

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