The decisions whether to breastfeed and share a bed with the baby not only affect the welfare of the infant, but also the mother, a new study finds.
The women in the study with the best stress hormone patterns were the ones who breastfed but refrained from sharing a bed with their baby, researchers found. The women who fared the worst were those who co-slept and didn't breastfeed.
The researchers were looking for the optimal daily rhythm in the women's stress hormone levels. An optimal rhythm is one in which levels of the stress hormone cortisol  are high in the morning, to prepare a person for the day's events and stressors, and low in the evening, to allow for sleep.
Women who didn't breastfeed, or who shared a bed with their infant, had less-than-optimal daily rhythms.
The findings suggest that recommendations made by public health experts because they are good for infants — that they be breastfed and that they sleep in their own bed — are good for mothers, too.
Interesting article! How has your stress level been since baby arrived? Do you think that your decision to breastfeed or not, or your decision to co-sleep or not, have anything to do with the amount of stress you've been feeling?