Nothing is more natural than breastfeeding for your baby. Women have been breastfeeding in every corner of the world for thousands of years. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life as it is optimal for both babies and mothers. For babies it can protect against infections and reduce the rates of later health problems including diabetes, obesity, and asthma. On the other side for mothers breastfeeding helps the uterus to contract, bleeding to cease more quickly after delivery and reduce the risk breast and ovarian cancers.
Adding to various studies and recommendations that breastfeeding boosts kids overall health and mental health; a new study published online on Dec. 20 in Pediatrics reveals a very interesting finding that babies especially boys, if breastfed for at least six months scored significantly higher in academic tests at the age of ten.
About the Study
Researchers from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, the Curtin Health Renovation Research Institute, Centre for Developmental Health, and the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology, also in Perth, reviewed the records of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, which has been following the growth and development of over 2,800 children born in Western Australia between 1989 and 1991. Researchers adjusted the factors such as gender, family income, maternal factors and early stimulation at home, such as reading to children etc. Researchers used data of 1,038 eligible boys and girls at age 10 years. This included...
standardized scores of mathematics, reading, writing and spelling ability.
The result revealed that, at age 10, boys who were breast-fed for six months or longer had higher academic scores in math, reading, writing and spelling than those breast-fed fewer than six months. However, girls who were breast-fed for at least six months showed a insignificant benefit in reading.
Though new data do not show positive results in girls, but this should not discourage mothers of daughters from breast-feeding. It’s been long understood that breast milk is of great value to infant neurological development. “Nutrients in breast milk that are essential for optimum brain growth, such as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, may not be in formula milk,” the researchers noted.
The advantages of breastfeeding are numerous. Breast milk is ultimately the best source of nutrition for a new baby. It also provides a great way for mothers to bond with their babies.