New research from Yale has identified that vaginal birth prompts the secretion of a special protein that promotes the development of the baby’s hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and stress response. This protein is also a key component of breastmilk, possibly explaining the link between early nurturing from the mother to larger hippocampal regions in children. Cesarean delivery may stunt the expression of this protein and possibly impair the breastfeeding relationship as a result.
Mother Nature has an intricate way of making babies more intelligent. In addition to the protein secreted from birth and all that glorious breastmilk, there are many reasons why keeping a newborn close to his mother can make a baby brainy. As you will see, everything works in perfect harmony:
*the neural processing capabilities of the newborn make her seek, make her need, the sight of the human face — at a distance of 12 to 16 inches, precisely the distance between a breastfeeding baby’s eyes and his mother’s face! — as the key referent for both optimal neural development the mirroring attachment duet with her mother
*we now know that the human heart puts out a measurable energy field that can resonate and entrain with others — and a baby requires entrainment between her own less stable, coherent heart rhythms and those of her mother, such that nature has embedded into humans the world over, irrespective of all variations including dominant handedness — the instinct to hold babies in the left-arm carry position, increasing the proximity of the two hearts to one another, presumably because of both the comforting rhythm the adult heartbeat provides the baby, as well as the optimized “nesting” of baby’s heart field within that of the adult
*within a very short time (Pearce says forty-five minutes) without the face pattern and the heart entrainment, a baby’s system begins to go into shock, releasing large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which is highly neurotoxic (i.e., it kills brain cells)
*human breast milk is the lowest in fat and protein (as Pearce puts it, “the weakest, wateriest stuff”) of any in the animal kingdom, requiring frequent feeding which in turn ensures that the face pattern and heart entrainment are reestablished frequently, to maintain homeostasis and optimal neurological, psychological and physiological development
Human babies are not meant to be independent. In fact, of all species, human babies are one of the most helpless species on the planet. Why do you think it takes so long for them to learn to crawl? Other baby mammals can walk almost immediately after birth. Human babies don’t typically learn to crawl until 8 or 9 months of age, when they are able to produce stomach HCL, an acid responsible for breaking down fats and proteins, and can be away from his mother (and her milk).
It’s all so fine tuned and harmonious, isn’t it? The first few months are so important and fleeting. Hold on tight, and enjoy those babies, mamas. Their brains depend on it!