Reduced Crying: Another Benefit of Breastfeeding

A baby crying in pain tugs at our heartstrings. A study published in the January 4, 2003 issue of the British Medical Journal showed that breastfeeding is a powerful way to reduce pain. This was a study of babies who were having their blood drawn. Some of the babies were held in mothers’ arms, some were given glucose water and a pacifier, some were given placebo (water) to drink, and some were nursed. Observers who did not know the purpose of the study rated the pain of the babies during the procedures. Nursing dramatically reduced pain (more than 1/3 of nursing babies showed no sign that they had even noticed the blood draw). Being held in mothers’ arms did nothing at all to reduce the pain response by itself. Glucose water helped some. But nursing naturally put babies in an ideal state of mind.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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