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Nutrients 2014, 6(1), 76-89; doi:10.3390/nu6010076

Breastfeeding and Active Bonding Protects against Children’s Internalizing Behavior Problems

1,* , 2
1 Department of Family and Community Health, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA 2 Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China 3 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 October 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 10 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paediatric Nutrition)
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Breastfeeding is associated with numerous health benefits to offspring and mothers and may improve maternal-infant bonding. Ample evidence suggests breastfeeding can improve child neurodevelopment, but more research is needed to establish whether breastfeeding is linked to the development of child psychopathology. This paper aims to explore the effects of both breastfeeding and mother-child interactions on child behavioral outcomes at a later age. Children from the China Jintan Child Cohort Study (N = 1267), at age six years old were assessed, along with their parents. Children who were breastfed exclusively for a period of time in the presence of active bonding were compared to those who were breastfed in the absence of active bonding as well as to children who were not exclusively breastfed, with or without active bonding. Results from ANOVA and GLM, using SPSS20, indicate that children who were breastfed and whose mothers actively engaged with them displayed the lowest risk of internalizing problems (mean = 10.01, SD = 7.21), while those who were neither exclusively breastfed nor exposed to active bonding had the least protection against later internalizing problems (mean = 12.79, SD = 8.14). The effect of breastfeeding on internalizing pathology likely represents a biosocial and holistic effect of physiological, and nutritive, and maternal-infant bonding benefits.
Keywords: breastfeeding; bonding; attachment; internalizing behaviors breastfeeding; bonding; attachment; internalizing behaviors
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Liu, J.; Leung, P.; Yang, A. Breastfeeding and Active Bonding Protects against Children’s Internalizing Behavior Problems. Nutrients 2014, 6, 76-89.

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