The Emotions Of Breastfeeding And Infant Mind/Body Health


To describe a favorite food or meal, it’s plausible the word “love” is in our definitive statement. A variety of vine ripe heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, cilantro, avocado, flaked seaweed leaves of dulse (Palmaria palmata) and a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice is my summertime’s foremost salad. I “love” this medley of assorted fruits and vegetables. These “loving” emotions of seasonal gratifications habituate over a lifetime and are associated with a strong personal attraction from remembered sensuality. In the science of biology, the concept of “love” differentiates down to a scientific mammalian drive, illustrating the steps to procreate children. Life derives felicity from these frequent and necessary experiences, indicating sensational living sensitivities from mating to the foods eaten. The philosopher Plato, understanding these psychological feelings conscious in our physiological bodies, said, “The god of ‘love’ lives in a state of need.” This one truth acts to universally energize our mind and body life.


b-loveImagine being famished and about to consume our most desired and wished-for food. Now put yourself in the position of a newly born infant, being at its mother’s side. Hungered and constitutionally yearning for life’s sustenance, the breast milk with its watery energy and nutrients is all a baby understands. Listening to its mother’s heartbeat and holding on tight with its little hands, a baby is caressed by a warm maternal body. These first sensory moments in satisfaction are repetitious practices and preoccupations for a baby. To see, to touch and to smell are mind and body heart intentions, as a baby latches on to its mother’s breast. To taste, suck and swallow are the sounds of liquid sweetness and these attentive appreciations are our first sensual experiences ingrained in life to remember. Mother and child are face-to-face, recognizing, merging and savoring these eye-to-eye engagements in mental, emotional and physical comforts. This is love’s unconditional selflessness, expressing contented gladness. A mother imparts so much to her nursling while breastfeeding, becoming the foundation for life’s interpersonal relationships.


This bonding experience between a mother and her child is equivalent to our mature excitement, delighting in meals with the same emotional pleasures of subsistence. To comprehend these metaphysical fervors in psychology, Dr. Robert Plutchtik characterizes these psychological experiences with elaborate principles. In his “psycho-evolutionary theory,” above and beyond our simplest emotional feelings are multi-layered classifications to our everyday mercurial happenstances. From delights in treasured ecstasies to the depressed sorrows of disappointments, our momentary mental adventures emerged from eight primordial “emotions.” Using terms of polarities, Dr. Plutchtik conceptualizes our perceptions in his “Wheel of Emotions” representation. These dualities, interconnecting our mind/body affiliations, commence from four un-evolved primal pairs of opposites. These paired mirrors of aboriginal psychic sensations are joy with sadness, trust with disgust, fear with anger and surprise with anticipation. The other designated emoting recognitions from our developmental, transformative and demonstrative life are the “combinations, mixtures or compounds” of these early basic reciprocal prototypes of feelings.


These primitive emotional and endemic psychological affectivities evolved to increase the reproductive competence of animals, dealing with their survival issues. An emotion possesses a present mental and physical moment of life’s energy, moving (e-motion/energies moving). These energetic psychical dynamics activate our “to live responses” and charge our “to survive reactions.” These phenomenal expressions are the complimentary and antagonistic functions of the “autonomic nervous system,” which are commanded by our thoughts. Mobilizing our brain and sense organs are the “parasympathetic” faculties and the “sympathetic” operations of our body’s sensorial discernments. These backbone and steadfast evolutionary programs of our five senses are the instinctive necessities to subsist and maintain our moment-to-moment emoting presence until life ends. For Dr. Plutchtik, these precursory combinations of “joy” and “trust” digitalizes the infrastructure to our experience of “love.” Triggering our first actions of behavior, the important excitabilities are inherent. Love is so apparent in any newborn and life’s home base is the mind and body of breastfeeding.

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Today our mortal love shines, diffusing through all the high-spirited prisms of Earth. This is a purposeful life and these transformational mind/body entanglements are the metaphysical and biophysical undertakings of love. Life is about these inherited informational processes, mentoring and directing Nature’s plant and animal adaptations. The genetic, evolutionary and environmental behaviors are for our understanding; being alive is a comprehension of “who” we are in mind and body. For a mother nourishing her child, these are the first participations of joy and trust a human being endures in life. These physiological influences are innate sensibilities; these subtle mind with gross body responses innervate the psychological programs in every infant. These affections with their many amalgamations are the endearments a neonate participates in while breastfeeding. Received are the elements of emotional feedback mirrored by its mother, bonding with her little one during feedings. Now compare this long ongoing ecstatic mammalian phenomenon between a mother and her nursing child to what a toddler goes through with a plastic bottle. The collapsed rubber nipple, incomplete with a nutrient deficient formula, uses gravity for the fluid to flow; this affects the baby’s mental, emotional and physical health for a lifetime. This artificiality lacks the microcosmic wholeness experienced by any vitalized mind/body being, caring for its offspring with mammary glands. A counterfeit and manufactured deviation from the ethological and anthropological norms engenders and instigates arduous emotive and corporeal repercussions. These synthetic imbalances cause ripples in the natural time clock and detrimental stress for the ultramodern women and their children.


The physiological functions and anatomical forms are consistent in human genetics and natural selection for hundreds of thousands to millions of years. A good example of this consistency is our dentition. The long-standing hominine standards define the prehistory to history of a typical Homo sapiens skull, complete with its thirty-two teeth. In each upper and lower jawbone, a mature dental architecture consists of six incisors, four premolars and six molars. This anatomy demonstrates the accurate quintessential genetic arrangement for integrated speaking, swallowing and chewing movements. The analogous growth has a developmental template to guarantee these universal structural terminations into an adult. Unless a “disconnection” occurs from the evolutionary and environmental imperative conditioning, straight teeth and functional harmony are the norms. This formulated pattern and benchmark in anatomy starts in embryonic life and continues with breastfeeding after birth. This operational development carries forward even after weaning, now being ruled and regulated by Mother Nature and her promoting planetary cuisines. An infant arrives already versed in native processes, being released from the womb with indelible intelligent and sensible reflexes. The newborn’s deep-rooted instincts are from age-old cellular DNA programs; they are instructions to where and how to obtain life-sustaining sustenance. A “rooting reflex” arouses and summons the baby with its first breath of air to seek and find its mother’s bosom. The infant latches on with its lips and mouth. The entire nipple is engulfed, going far back into the infant’s oral cavity. Reaching the entrance to the baby’s throat, the uneven pitted skin of the palate and tongue tissues hold the nipple in place.

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An inborn “sucking reflex” creates a seal with the lips and commands the baby’s gummy jaws to close, pinching its mother’s teat. This closure captures the unpasteurized white elixir, preventing the wholesome milky juice from going back into the breast. The muscular tongue extends over the lower jaw’s gum pad and pushes up against the nipple to the roof of the mouth, extracting the un-homogenized secretions. With peristaltic-like gestures, the strong tongue compresses the supple breast. The baby’s contracting tongue moves like a rolling pin, broadening its pressure from the front to the back of its mouth. With wave-like implementations, an infant retrieves its feast from numerous saturated lactiferous ducts, delivering the vital watery composition to an open esophagus. The nursling swallows, gaining nourishment and then momentarily relaxes to start the endless loop process again until satiation. As long as the suction remains intact, an infant obtains milk. This incessant feeding performance not only extracts its libation from the nipple but also is responsible for shaping the nestling’s palate, the floor of the nasal cavity and its lower jaw. The breasts are “not” like a mass-produced container someone can lift to pour its contents out. The neonate’s autogenetic and self-moving endeavor in feeding is labored committed work. This physical well-ordered labor is systematic oral exercises for the lips, jaws, tongue, cheeks and throat muscles, pulsating rhythmically to obtain its dense liquid nutrition.


These coordinated regimentations of breastfeeding actuate and set in motion the structuring progressions for the boney arches and tooth alignments in a child. All through biological time, humanity’s babes in arms breastfed for two to four years, with no other option. These repeated palpable influences cause the unwavering forms and surrounding frameworks for the child’s head and neck. The tongue’s outline, this “U” symmetry, is potent power and the prime influential mover of growing jawbones. This glossal configuration is forced onto our mouth’s tissue relationships and sets up the anatomic circumstances for later toddler and adult teeth alignments. The “U” shaped maxilla (upper jaw) with its broad palatine bones are caused by the baby’s tongue. The child anatomy mirrors the embodied representation of a completed articulation in adulthood. The work performed by any suckling is different from babies with a plastic bottle filled with cow “udder take out” or sweetened apple juice. The effort a child undergoes eating an uncooked carrot is also different from a boiled carrot. These muscular complexities in our dietary menus are directly proportional to the accustomed growth and development of our jaws and dental advancement into adulthood. Any change or aberration to the integrative food environments of evolutionary life, from conception to maturity, contaminates the expected determinative outcomes in mind/body structures.

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The psychology of “love” baby-sits for the anatomy and physiology of “motherhood.” They are companions in the mentality and physicality of any mammal. For millions of years, these inheritable norms conditioned humankind until the 1770’s when the first invented glass decanters competed with mothers and wet nurses to feed infants. For mind and body betterment, the practical details differ, being an organism with breasts and not a mechanism for bottles. If we stop being like our ancestors in form and function, we renounce organic life and loose what Father God and Mother Nature intended for all their children, which is natural health. No other creature on Earth encounters what us contemporary humans are being subjected to. All wild mammals breastfeed and when weaned, accept the behavioral living and surviving habits of their species in the natural environments. This unfolding biological growth, for maturing jaws, dentition and embodiment, duplicates the same results seen over time. The emotional, immunological and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding create the underlying fruition for our commonplace masticatory system. Realize our recent style of processed life, from infant bottle-feeding to the consumption of soft fraudulent food-like substances; this is generating deleterious mind and body effects. These artificial disguises are major contributing factors to our degenerative malfunctions not seen in our planet’s wildlife. These synthetic imbalances from tooth decay and periodontal inflammation to malocclusion with its crowded teeth of micrognathia (small jaw sizes) did not exist in the past. Our temporal life speaks, chews and savors mouthfuls of refreshments in order to live. From human mother’s milk to Mother Nature’s colorful milks, growning on plants, a healthy life is a time-honored story, which needs to be recreated by surrendering and accepting the unheated food truths about our planetary way of living.

What do you think?


Plato, “The Symposium,” Christopher Gill translation, Penguin Classic, published 1999.

Robert Plutchtik PhD, “Emotions and Life: Perspectives from Psychology, Biology and Evolution,” American Psychological Association, published 2002

Brian Palmer DDS, “The Influence of Breastfeeding on the Development of the Oral Cavity,” Journal of Human Lactation, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 93-98, 1998.

Brian Palmer DDS, “Breastfeeding: Reducing the Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” Breastfeeding Abstracts, Volume 18, Number 3, pp 19-20, 1999.


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