A research team from Brazil recently published a long-term study that shows breastfeeding your baby can significantly increase his or her intelligence. The researchers studied 3,500 babies ranging from various backgrounds and socioeconomic status, and found that the group that was breastfed the longest ended up scoring a lot higher on IQ tests later in life.
The findings were published in the Lancet Global Health, although not 100 percent conclusive, it does match other data that has come out saying that babies should be exclusively fed breast milk for the first 6 to 8 months of life. The experts said that other factors could also contribute to the data concluded in the study, but the researchers tried to eliminate as many other factors as they could, like the educational background of the mother and father. Experts also agreed though that parents do have the right to choose whether or not to breastfeed their baby, and if so, for how long. It has long been known that some women who have children simply cannot make breast milk or make enough to sustain a growing baby, which sometimes leads to them supplementing with formula.
The researchers of the study claim that this study was done on babies from all walks of life, not just the poor or the rich, and some babies were breastfed a few weeks while others were breastfed over a year. The study also found that those who were breastfed longer also went to school for longer periods of time, such as earning higher post-high school educational degrees. Those children also ended up making more money in their adult years than the group that was not breastfed as long.
There are a lot of long-term benefits of breast milk, such as it being a good source of saturated fatty acids, and this is very important for brain development in babies. There is also evidence supporting the fact that breast milk can help reduce gastrointestinal infections during the infancy stages, and can also help reduce respiratory infections that are very dangerous to newborn babies. While there might be a lot of benefits to breast milk, there are also benefits to formula as well, such as being high in iron and calcium, so it’s important to know even if you aren’t able to breastfeed, you are still giving your baby essential vitamins and nutrients.
Research studies like this one have been going on for years, all of them finding fairly solid evidence to support that breastfeeding your baby is a lot better for the baby, including higher intelligence during the adult years. The researchers of this study want people to realize that this was a more in-depth study than some other studies that have concluded the same thing, especially considering they followed this group to age 30, and did their homework to rule out all of the other factors that could have been contributors for the higher intelligence, which means this study could have more validity. The scientific data about these types of studies have been questioned over and over again, but each time another study is done, it proves nearly the same thing, which is that breastfeeding your child does improve brain function and intelligence.