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.


photo by Cris Watk


This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, family planning, child psychology, marriage counseling and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care or mental health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, application of medication or any other action involving the care of yourself or any family members which results from reading this site. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

Daily Videos

In order to view the content on this page, you will need the latest version of Adobe’s Flash Player. Click here to download it.

What does your weekly dinner look like?
The whole family dines together at home
The whole family dines together at a restaurant
Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
Total votes: 6380