A study carried out by the Boston Children’s Hospital has shown an association between the length of time that children are breastfed and their intelligence in later life, including receptive language when the child is three and both nonverbal and verbal intelligence at the age of seven.
Mandy Belfort, MD, and her colleagues examined the connections between the length of time that children were breastfed for and their cognitive skills at the ages of three and seven. They also considered the fish intake of the mother during the breastfeeding stage to discover if this has any link. The researchers used the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test to assess the three year children, and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test to measure the seven year children, They found that duration of breastfeeding was related to a higher score in both tests.
The study concluded that breastfeeding exclusively for six months and then continuing through the whole of the child’s first year will increase IQ by about four IQ points. However, most mothers will see the obvious practical issues that this would bring: breastfeeding children until they are 12 months old would interfere with working life for many parents.
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