Breastfeeding Linked to More Intelligent Kids

Posted on May 6, 2008  Comments (5)

McGill study links breastfeeding to increased intelligence

The largest randomized study of breastfeeding ever (14,000 children for 6.5 years) conducted reports that breastfeeding raises children’s IQs and improves their academic performance, a McGill researcher and his team have found.

“Our study provides the strongest evidence to date that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding makes kids smarter,” said Kramer, a Professor of Pediatrics and of Epidemiology & Biostatistics in the McGill University Faculty of Medicine and lead investigator in the study.

Kramer and his colleagues evaluated the children in 31 Belarusian hospitals and clinics. Half the mothers were exposed to an intervention that encouraged prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding. The remaining half continued their usual maternity hospital and outpatient pediatric care and follow-up. This allowed the researchers to measure the effect of breastfeeding on the children’s cognitive development without the results being biased by differences in factors such as the mother’s intelligence or her way of interacting with her baby.

The children’s cognitive ability was assessed by IQ tests administered by the children’s pediatricians and by their teachers’ ratings of their academic performance in reading, writing, mathematics and other subjects. Both sets of measures were significantly higher in the group randomized to the breastfeeding promotion intervention.

“The effect of breastfeeding on brain development and intelligence has long been a popular and hotly debated topic,” says Dr. Kramer. “While most studies have been based on association, however, we can now make a causal inference between breastfeeding and intelligence – because of the randomized design of our study.”

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5 Responses to “Breastfeeding Linked to More Intelligent Kids”

  1. No name provided
    May 7th, 2008 @ 1:43 am

    It’s nice to see a steady flow of solid research on this. I’ve had so many arguments with people who for whatever reason just didn’t want to breastfeed and wanted to justify it. Not only does the act of breastfeeding create an interchange of bonding hormones which improves the child’s attachment style, it also contains better nutrition: increased levels of essential fats like CLA, a perfect amino acid profile. The undeniable fact is that any mother-creature that makes milk will tend to make the ideal food for its offspring. It’s evolution, plain and simple.

  2. Curious Cat Science Blog » Do Breast Tumors go Away on Their Own?
    December 4th, 2008 @ 8:41 am

    This raises the possibility that the natural course of some screen-detected invasive breast cancers is to spontaneously regress…

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  4. Mary
    October 18th, 2009 @ 10:51 am

    I actually believe in that. It was believed since then that breast feeding do make kids smarter. And today, It has been proven. You know, breast milk is rich in essential vitamins and minerals needed by infants during their development period. These said breast milk contents is a natural product so it is definitely safe.

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