Breastfeeding Baby Could Make Him the Smartest Kid in the Class

Photo: Guardian UK Photo: Guardian UK

Need another reason to point you in the direction of breastfeeding baby? A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that skipping formula in favor of breast milk could make baby smarter later on in life.

Led by Dr. Mandy Belfort at the Boston Children’s Hospital, researchers gathered data from 1,312 moms and babies in the United States. They tracked everything from a mom’s breastfeeding frequency to her intelligence to mom and dad’s education levels, baby’s home environment, a mom’s employment and the type of childcare baby received. Belfort and her team performed a series of tests measuring the child’s cognitive development after infancy. At age 3, children were tested using the higher Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, which measures receptive language (how well a child understands language). At age 7, the children were again assesssed using the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (which measures a child’s IQ).

Researchers discovered that for every additional month that a child was breastfed, through a year, their language score was .2 points higher compared to normal-aged peers. At age 7, they discovered that each additional month a child was breastfed through a year correlated with an icrease in IQ score by a third of a point. Both findings, researchers noted, were statistically significant. Of the results, Belfort said, “A child’s receptive language is highly correlated with general intelligence as measured by more typical IQ tests.”

While there is still no relevant data to explain the link between breastfeeding and cognitive development in a child, Belfort noted, “Formula is designed to be as close to breast milk as possible… but it is definitely possible that there are nutrients or non-nutrient factors in breast milk not in formula that may benefit baby’s brain.”

Do you think breastfeeding baby will make him smarter?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Everything You Need to Know About Breastfeeding

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding

A Smart Start to Breastfeeding