As science improves everyday, it keeps us up to date with recent trends we need to be careful of and those that affect our well-being both positively and negatively. Well the latest news is here. This is for mothers and women who think breastfeeding their children is a complete waste of their time.
New research that has been in progress for a while now has proven that children who were well breast-fed have more chances of becoming well-educated and to earn better as adults.
This research carried out by researchers in Brazil, followed the progress and growth of nearly 6,000 children who were born over 30 years ago. This idea of long-term research has enabled the researchers to monitor the daily lives of the children right from birth. So they were able to monitor the long-term benefits of breast-feeding children from birth. Most of the children are now full-grown adults and quite a good number of them accepted the invitation to be interviewed and to go through IQ tests to enable the researchers come to a better result.
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The results of the IQ tests showed that children who were breastfed were much more intelligent, they performed better in school and had better grades than those other children who had not been breast-fed or who had been breastfed for only a short time. The results also supported the theory that the longer a baby is breastfed, the better his school and adult life would be.
It had already been established a fact that breastfeeding can improve a child’s IQ a little. But Dr Bernardo Lessa From the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil wanted to further clarify if breastfeeding could improve a child’s IQ in a little amount that could translate to greater intelligence and better prospects as an adult.
“Our study provides the first evidence that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least the age of 30 years but also has an impact both at an individual and societal level by improving educational attainment and earning ability,” said Dr Bernardo.
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The Dr went on to say that it was not just the age of the research subjects that makes the research peculiar,it is also the fact that the work is free of some major complications associated with other research works that are related to breastfeeding because when it began in 1982, it was not just the more affluent and educated mothers who breastfed in Brazil. This implied that Breastfeeding was not limited to one socio-economic group of the society. He said it was evenly distributed across the social classes. So the higher achievers at the age of 30 did not come from better-off homes.
Nevertheless, in analyzing their results, now published in the Lancet Global Health journal, they took into account certain factors which they feel could affect a child’s growth both physically and mentally especially where it concerns the immediate family. These factors include family income at birth, parental schooling, genomic ancestry, maternal smoking during pregnancy, maternal age, birth weight and type of delivery. The tried to avoid any of those factors affecting or changing the results.
After the research, they found that all the breastfed babies had greater intelligence, as measured by a standard IQ test, they had spent more years in education and had higher earnings. But it did not stop there, the more conclusive results showed that the longer they had been breastfed, the greater the benefits. Children who had been breastfed for 12 months had an IQ that was four points higher than those breastfed for less than a month, had nearly a year’s more schooling and earned around £70 (R914.91) a month more – about a third more than the average income level.
Dr Horta admitted that he could not completely rule out the possibility that mothers who breastfed had helped their babies’ development in other ways.
“Some people say it is not the effect of breastfeeding but it is the mothers who breastfeed who are different in their motivation or their ability to stimulate the kids.”
But then he added that, there is evidence from other studies of the nutritional value of a mother’s milk, rich in long-chain polyunsaturated acids that are essential for brain growth. Some studies have suggested babies with a particular genotype are more likely to get the IQ benefit from breastfeeding than others. Horta and colleagues are now looking to see whether that applies in their cohort.
The World Health Organisation has recommended exclusive breastfeeding of a baby for the first six months. Horta said babies who had been breastfed for six months got most of the benefits enjoyed by those who were fed for longer. “Mothers should breastfeed for as long as possible,” he said, but he recognized that extended breastfeeding is not always easy for women. Less than a quarter of new mothers in the UK are still exclusively breastfeeding by the time the baby is six weeks old.
In addition to the findings of Dr Horta and his colleagues, Dr Colin Michie, chair of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health’s nutrition committee, said:
“It is widely known that breastfed babies are better protected against chest and ear infections, are at less risk of sudden infant death and are less likely to become obese, but it’s interesting to see the benefits of breastfeeding for a prolonged period of time not only benefit to the baby in the early years, but also translate into increased intelligence and improved earning ability later in life.
Sarah Boseley health editor of the Guardian said, “It is important to note that breastfeeding is one of many factors that can contribute to a child’s outcomes, however, this study emphasizes the need for continued and enhanced breastfeeding promotion so expectant mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Furthermore, once mothers have given birth, we must ensure they are properly supported to continue breastfeeding for as long as they are able to.” long term benefits of breastfeeding