Breast milk has no long-term cognitive effects – Study

It has long been thought that breastfeeding improves a baby’s mental capacity; a newly released study has found it has no long-term cognitive benefits.

According to the findings of the study published in the journal ‘Pediatrics,’ after following breastfed childrens from the time they were nine months old to age five, researchers found that children who were breastfed for at least six months had reduced hyperactivity and showed better problem-solving skills when they were three years old. When the children were evaluated again at age five the differences were insignificant. Breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is the feeding of babies and young child with milk from a woman’s breast.

Health professionals recommend that breastfeeding begin within the first hour of a baby’s life and continue as often and as much as the baby wants.

The Newsweek published that the scientists followed 7,478 Irish babies and tested their vocabulary and problem-solving abilities when they were three years old and again when they turned five.

The report said although, children who came from more educated families or better financial circumstances, reported higher problem-solving skills and vocabulary during the study, when those variables were removed and the data was randomised, breastfeeding had no real impact on a child’s development, said study author, Lisa-Christine Girard. Although, intelligence may not be affected by breastfeeding, breast milk has been proven to be beneficial in preventing a variety of health risks – while formula feeding has been linked to increased childhood infections, inflammation, weakened immune function and higher chances of respiratory infections. In the United States, 81.1 per cent of infants born in 2013 were breastfeeding at six months while 30.7 per cent of babies were breastfeeding at 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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