New Study Shows that Babies who were Breastfed Longer are Smarter

breastfed, formula-fed, intelligence
Image via Flickr/ CRZ

A recent Harvard study, showed that young children who were breastfed as newborns scored higher on IQ tests than children who were formula-fed. The longer and more exclusively they were breastfed, the greater the difference in scoring.

Research analyzed 1,312 expectant moms between 1999 and 2002, the study done in eastern Massachusetts, examined pregnancy, child health and the children who were delivered. The research showed that 7-year-olds who had been breastfed and formula fed during the first six months of life, gained more than a third of a point in verbal IQ for each month they were breastfed compared to children who were never breastfed. This means a difference of 4.2 verbal IQ points are gained for very 12 months of breastfeeding.

Children whose mothers exclusively breastfed them for the first six months of life gained an increase of four-fifths of a verbal IQ point each month they were breastfed. That means they gained 4.8 IQ points in just 6 months. It should be noted that researchers have deducted that the data proves an association between IQ and breastfed babies but it is not cause and effect.

Overall, this is great news and positive reinforcement for those of us who breastfed; exclusively or mixed with formula. We all have known for years that breastfeeding is best for a myriad of reasons. The La Leche league has told us, the Mayor of New York has told us, our mothers have told us and so has any stranger who could corner us with our newborn. So, it is nice to know that not only is it good for immunity’s sake, but by breastfeeding we get smarter kids. I mean all I need to be told now is that it will make them prettier and I might even consider getting pregnant again just to test out the theory.

Only there is one small problem to this theory, there are people that I know for a fact were formula-fed and they have high IQ scores; really high IQ’s…maybe these high IQ’s from being fed formula in the 1970’s proves that we are all over-analyzing every facet of childbirth and child rearing today and that really, neither has any effect on intelligence.

Only there is one small problem to this theory, there are people that I know for a fact were formula-fed and they have high IQ scores; really high IQ’s in the 140’s. According to this theory, a person with a 147 IQ would actually score in the 150’s had their mother breastfed rather than bottle-fed. Then again, maybe these high IQ’s from being fed formula in the 1970’s proves that we are all over-analyzing every facet of childbirth and child rearing today and that really, neither has any effect on intelligence.

I believe that breast milk is nature’s natural food for babies; it’s therefore easier to digest. Of course, some of us can’t breastfeed for whatever reason or we have to supplement or maybe our schedule just won’t allow it. We don’t need any more cause for mommy guilt. There is plenty to go around. I firmly believe that intelligence has more to do with genetics and nurturing than what a child eats as a baby. Still, I did breastfeed, just in case.

Between the constantly changing recommendations and rules and regulations for pregnancy and raising children, it’s a wonder we don’t all go. What do you think? Do you think breastfeeding makes your kid smarter?

 

What do you think?

New Study Shows that Babies who were Breastfed Longer are Smarter

Deborah Cruz, @TruthfulMommy, is the creator of The TRUTH about Motherhood, an often humorous and brutally honest look at motherhood. She's a writer, a wife, and a work-at-home Mommy who's trying to do it all well. She live in the Midwest with her 2 little girls and her husband. She has a lot of degrees from a bunch of schools but mostly spends her days shuttling people under the age of 7, while trying to maintain her sanity and she wouldn't have it any other way. She talks a lot. She ... More

Tell us what you think!

7 comments

  1. Melody says:

    I didn’t breast feed my son (now 11) for many factors and regret it, I’m expecting my 2nd child and based on every little detail about EVERYTHING I absolutely plan to at least *use* my breast milk….I’m nervous about the breastfeeding aspect but intend to pump if that’s not something I do…can some experienced moms talk to me about the comfort and physical aspects of baby to breast. The health of my child is the ULTIMATE factor…but though I’m 32 and knowledgable….this is uncharted territory for me! Thank you Mommies!! 🙂

    • Melody – I think that you are approaching this from a great angle – you know what you want and you’re committed to doing it. I have to say that in my experiences, putting the baby to breast was challenging at first, but within a few weeks it became second nature and then it was amazingly simple. No bottles to wash, nothing to prepare. Pumping is certainly an option – and one that works for many mothers. If you are thinking it may be a good option for you, I suggest contacting your insurance company to see whether they’ll cover a pump – some do. And find yourself a reputable lactation counselor. Best wishes!

  2. Cesia perez says:

    I breastfed my 2 litte girls and they are very healthy right now my 3 mo. Old girl is very chunky… She has healthy fat ..

  3. Tina says:

    very interesting article!!!

  4. Bethany says:

    I think that breastfeeding is the best way to go, no matter the reason behind it. I do feel though that you should not look down on someone who feeds their baby formula because you don’t know the reason behind it. I did both for my son and am planning on the same for this baby.

  5. Phammom says:

    I hope I can breast feed.

Advertisement
[x]
×

EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date


By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend