Moms who breastfeed their children for more than six months might help boost a child’s IQ, according to a study by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.
The groundbreaking Raine Study reached this conclusion after tracking the growth of over 2,500 children from West Australia for a period of 16 years. It’s the only known study of its type, which tracked breastfeeding results for such a long period of time.
According to lead researcher Dr. Wendy Oddy, there are biological elements in breast milk that contribute to baby development, especially within the brain, during the child’s first year.
She said that the study adjusted the results to consider factors such as the family’s happiness, family functioning, and the parents’ economic level. Still, in the vast majority of instances, those children breastfed for six months or more benefited; they even had a decreased risk for mental health problems.
Specifically, those who were breastfed for fewer than six months were 52% more likely to have a mental health issue by age 2. The risk was 55% more by age 6 and 61% more by age 8.
The better-breastfed kids also benefited with overall attitude. According to Dr. Oddy, those breastfed for more than six months showed decreased rates of anti-social, aggressive behavior and tended to be less withdrawn, depressed and anxious.
This is in addition to physical benefits of breastfeeding.Â According to a recent study by the Cochrane Collaboration, children who aren’t adequately breastfed for his or her first three or four months suffer more instances of gastroenteritis, ear infections, allergies, diabetes mellitus and urinary tract infections. A separate report by the United States Agency for Health Care Research and Quality came to similar conclusions.