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In the News: Breastfeeding/IQ Link Questioned
Submitted by Courtney on Sun, 04/25/2010 - 15:59
Every pregnant woman and mother knows just how great breastfeeding is for our child. It is the most nutritionally complete food we could ever offer our child. It is tailored to our child’s specific needs. It helps build up our baby’s immunity and prevents numerous illnesses that formula-fed babies face. But can it also increase our baby’s intelligence?
Link to IQ
Though there have been hushed murmurings for quite some time about how breastfed babies have a higher IQ than formula-fed babies, no recent studies have actually been able to support those rumors. As a matter of fact, a study in 2006 indicated that of 5475 children and 3161 mothers in a longitudinal study that began back in 1979, breastfed children showed no evidence of having a higher IQ as a result of receiving breast milk.
What the study did show, however, was that mothers who breastfed their children tended to have a higher IQ than those who did not, despite a number of other factors that were taken into account: race, education, age, social status, home environment, smoking, or both the child’s birth weight or birth order.
This study offers a different viewpoint from other studies of a similar nature that have been released. A study that was released on 1992 claimed that children who were breastfed had a significantly higher IQ between the ages of 7 ½ and 8 years of age 1. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study was that the children who were breastfed were not actually breastfed by their mother, as the infants had been fed through a nasogastric tube. This was just one of many studies released in the early 1990s that supported the idea that breastfed babies were “smarter” and had a higher IQ.
Intelligence May Not Be a Benefit
Ultimately, a child’s IQ seems to be more related to his own mother and father’s IQ than the type of nutrition that he or she receives early in life. Though there are undoubtedly multiple benefits that come with breastfeeding your child, IQ just doesn’t seem to be one of them.
- 1. Breast milk and subsequent intelligence quotient in children born premature. Lucas, A. et al. Lancet 339:261-264, 1992
photo by Cris Watk
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