Does Breastfeeding Truly Boost Children’s Brainpower?

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Does Breastfeeding Truly Boost Children’s Brainpower
Many medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. And breastfeeding for a year at least with other foods which should be started at 6 months of age, such as vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins.

Breastfeeding is the feeding of a child directly from the female breast and not indirectly from any form of the container (bottle). It is expected that a child is fed by her mother for at least the first six months or beyond. It is also a known fact that a well-breastfed child is healthier than a child not well breastfed. There are so many advantages associated with breastfeeding, for instance, it helps the child to build strong immunity to fight off infections, breast milk contains vitamins, minerals, and enzymes which aid the baby’s digestion, breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for infants and so many more. But does it boost a child’s brainpower?

Several studies have been carried out and more are still on the way presently, the conclusion of nearly all of them except maybe some few ones is that breastfeeding enhances children’s brainpower.  But in my curiosity, I started my research to actually find out the truth behind brainpower boosting the ability of breastfeeding, the outcome was more than what I intended finding. I discovered that breastfeeding does not only boost a child’s brainpower but also increased both verbal intelligence and performance intelligence. Not only that, but the duration of breastfeeding also matters a lot, this is because an increase in the duration of breastfeeding is associated with more intelligence in children.

Important facts on Breastfeeding and Brain Development

  • These studies done over the last few years prove the point that breastfeeding enhances the neurodevelopment of infants and their intellectual and scholastic ability in later life. The increase in IQ by breastfeeding is directly related to the duration of breastfeeding.
  • Increasing duration of breastmilk feeding was associated with significant increases in both verbal IQ and performance IQ. 
  • Breastfeeding was associated with significantly higher scores for cognitive development than artificial feeding and that the developmental benefits of breastfeeding increased with the duration of feeding.

What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for Your Baby?

Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat — everything your baby needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.

Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. What’s more, the physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure. Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children. The AAP says breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It’s been thought to lower the risk of diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers as well, but more research is needed.

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