Ok, so what does this have to do with breastfeeding?
Most mental is established early in life, with half of chronic illness beginning by age 14 and 75% beginning by age 24. Obviously, the chemicals foundations for these conditions are created early in life as well. As I discussed in my article, the gut-brain axis, a large majority of the body's serotonin, the "feel good" mood-regulating hormone, is produced by the cells and regulated by the intestinal microbiota (bacteria). Chemical imbalances in these hormones are what causes mental health issues. So, a healthy gut is crucial for mental health.
Obviously, there are situations in which a C-section or formula feeding cannot be avoided. Additional research is currently being conducted in order to determine how a child's microbiome can best be supported in these situations.
Dietert, R.R. (2013) Natural Childbirth and Breastfeeding as Preventive Measures of Immune- Microbiome Dysbiosis and Misregulated Inflammation. J Anc Dis Prev Rem, 1:2.
Cabrera-Rubio, R., Collado, M.C., Laitenen, K., et. al. (2012) The human milk microbiome changes over lactation and is shaped by maternal weight and mode of delivery. Am J Clin Nutr, 96 (3), 544-551.
Brunser, O., Gotteland, M., Cruchet, S., et. al. (2016) Effect of a Milk Formula With Prebiotics on the Intestinal Microbiota of Infants After an Antibiotic Treatment. Ped Res, 59, 451-456.