• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Breastfeeding boosts brain power in kids

December 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Many studies have shown that babies who are breastfed tend to be physically healthier than babies raised on cow's milk or formula. Now new research finds feeding your child naturally could help when it comes to academics later in life. The study published in the journal Pediatrics found that babies who were mainly breastfed for the first six months of life scored higher academically when they got older than children who were not breastfed.

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between duration of breastfeeding and educational outcomes.

Australian researchers followed more than 2,800 babies born between 1989 and 1992 for 10 years. Results showed that young boys who were predominately breastfed for six months or longer had significantly higher scores on standardized tests for reading, math and spelling at age 10, compared to boys breastfed for shorter periods.

In girls, the benefits were not as significant.

Study authors noted not only does the nutrition found in mother's milk help brain power, but a number of other things could be in play. According to researchers, mothers who choose to breastfeed tend to have higher socioeconomic status and higher intelligence, and tend to be older and more educated. They say these factors could transfer to the children.

Researchers say the study adds to growing evidence that breastfeeding has beneficial effects on a baby's development.


Load Comments