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Mommy Brain = A Better Brain

bonding with baby, benfits of breastfeeding, mommy brain, American Psychological Association, high-resolution magnetic-resonance imaging, Yale-New Haven Hospital, gray matter,post-partum depression,Yes, we’ve all heard and (most-likely) used the term, “mommy brain.” You know, when you’re toting around a newborn and do things like lock the keys in the car, drive away with your precious coffee ON TOP your car, or leave the dog tied in front of the store (yes, this actually happened to a friend of mine). We laugh and blame it on our Mommy Brain, but, new research shows that Mommy Brain is a good thing.

The article, which is on the American Psychological Association’s website, states that, “The researchers performed baseline and follow-up high-resolution magnetic-resonance imaging on the brains of 19 women who gave birth at Yale-New Haven Hospital, 10 to boys and nine to girls. A comparison of images taken two to four weeks and three to four months after the women gave birth showed that gray matter volume increased by a small but significant amount in various parts of the brain. In adults, gray matter volume doesn’t ordinarily change over a few months without significant learning, brain injury or illness, or major environmental change.” How’s that for coolness?

So what triggers this growing? Bonding with your baby. The study showed that those women who were happy, and “blissed out” with their new little bundle of joy had more significant brain growth. All the women in the study were breastfeeding, and none suffered from real postpartum depression. But for those moms who are unable to nurse, such things as skin-to-skin contact, lots of cuddling, and any other forms of constant contact also helped.

To further this finding, the doctors now plan to be studying adoptive mothers and their new babies–to see if the adoptive parents’ brains are growing as well. Which would mean that the actual act of giving birth isn’t needed in order to connect with a baby–something dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles already know.

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