​Breastfed Babies Have a Secret Motive for Keeping You Up All Night​

breastfeeding at nightBreastfeeding has many benefits, and one of them is the fact that it can be a natural contraceptive. Don't bank on that though or you may end up pregnant with baby number two before baby number one is 9 months old. But it works ... a lot of the time. As with just about everything, however, there is a science behind this, and it has to do with an infant's competitiveness. Yes, even newborns have a competitive spirit, so says Professor David Haig, who authored a study published in Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health that says breastfed babies prevent pregnancy because they want mom all to themselves. There's more to the reason why.

 

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There is an undeniable bond that occurs when breastfeeding, and it's that bond that baby wants to keep -- that's part of the reason breastfed babies wake every two hours to nurse, Haig says. And as this study points out, we need to listen to baby's "evolutionary response" and all the motives they have.

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The prevention of pregnancy occurs because breastfeeding often delays ovulation. And baby knows it. Newborns don't want another sibling because they want to be the only child for now and until it's most healthy for mom to have another. Science says kids born close in age increase infant mortality rates, so it's not just a competitive spirit but a protective one. Protecting themselves and their yet-to-be born sibling.

Haig notes that this is especially true when babies nurse throughout the night -- as opposed to newborns who were breastfed during the day but given formula at night. Kids who drink formula tend to sleep more. So mothers aren't necessarily given that pregnancy protection when they nurse every two hours (or on demand).

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We talk about a mother's intuition, but this study makes me think of a baby's intuition -- "telling" us what's best for them and for us.

What do you think of this study? Do you think babies have motives and show this competitive nature?

 

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