Pediatricians encourage breast feeding. It has health benefits for your baby- and provides antibodies that help prevent gastrointestinal infections and ear infections. But a new study suggests another surprising benefit: it may make your baby smarter!
The study looked at more than 1300 children. It tested language skills and verbal intelligence, as well as non-verbal, visual intelligence at ages 3 and 7. Breast fed children had higher IQ’s.
Longer duration of breast feeding was linked to higher vocabulary scores at 3, and higher intelligence scores at 7. How long the baby was breast fed did not, however, influence memory and learning scores.
Nutrients in breast milk including D-H-A, the fatty acid docosa-hexanoic acid , have been shown to help a baby’s brain development. Fish is a great source of DHA. The study found breast fed babies whose moms ate 2 servings or more fish per week scored a little better on the wide range assessment of visual motor abilities test.
In the U.S., about 70% of moms try to breast feed their babies. By the time the baby is 6 months old, only 35% are still breastfeeding. Making your baby smarter is a good reason to keep it up.