Breastfeeding Benefits: Does Nursing Make Your Baby Smarter?

Image: Smarter Children

Breastfeeding Benefits for Your Infant:

Hey! This is world breastfeeding week!!! Nursing – breastfeeding – is known to provide your infant with a boost to their immunity. Infants who are nursed with good-ole mother’s milk have fewer ear infections, and lower risk of asthma later in life. But does breastfeeding make your child smarter?!? A study just published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that nursing your infant does make them smarter! Certainly that’s something that we all want for our children – to be smarter than we were.

Breastfeeding Benefits: Reduce Otitis Media

Infants who are nursed exclusively – without being supplemented with artificial formula – cut their rate of ear infections about 50%!!

Russell Faust, MD, PhD, boogordoctor, boogerdoctor, healthy children, otitis media, ear infections, breastfeeding, nursing

Image: Breastfeeding cuts ear infections by half!

Breastfeeding Benefits: Smarter Children – The Study

The authors, at Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital, examined the relationship between breastfeeding duration – how long an infant is nursed – with their later “cognition” at ages 3 and 7 years. As their measure of cognitive development, they assessed language development, visual motor abilities, memory and intelligence. The study included over 1,300 mothers and children.

Conclusion

The authors concluded that the length of time an infant is breastfed correlates with later IQ.

Take a look at their figure:

Russell Faust, MD, PhD, boogordoctor, boogerdoctor, healthy children, otitis media, ear infections, breastfeeding, nursing

Image: Breastfeeding and IQ
Nursing Makes Your Baby Smarter!

Bottom Line?

After adjusting for differences in “sociodemographics,” maternal intelligence, and home environment, (in addition to other factors like gender, age, fetal growth, gestational age, parity, smoking status, and many other factors), data showed a correlation between IQ and length of time an infant is nursed.

Just one more reason to nurse your little one!

(and finally, guys: hug a breast today)

Resources:

Note that the studies on the effects of breastfeeding on asthma have returned ambiguous results, with some positive results like those cited above, and some studies that concluded there was no effect on asthma.

 

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Hi, I’m Russell Faust, author of this medical education blog.
That wonderful photo of me is by Chris Stranad; here is his site: http://www.chrisstranadphotography.com/Index.html

Russell Faust, PhD, MD boogordoctor / healthy children

Dr. Faust and friend

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