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Want Smarter Kids? Breastfeeding May Help

Ask any parent and you will find that the number one hope is for healthy happy offspring but dig just a little deeper and you will find parents who also hope that their child will be the smartest kid in the class. An article posted on Fox News on September 2, 2011 tells us how breastfeeding may just be the key to more then better nutrition.

According to a study done at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex children who were breastfed as babies have higher test scores in vocabulary and reasoning by age 5 over those who were not breastfed. Even infants who were premature at birth seem to score better when breastfed on tests.

Researchers have long known the benefits of breast feeding such as a lower risk of infection but they aren't sure why it seems to stimulate brain power. They do have a few theories though.

"There are essential fatty acids in breast milk which are good for cell development and brain development in particular," said Amanda Sacker, one of the authors of the new study from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex.

Or, "there could be differences in hormones and growth factors which are lacking in formula," she added.

"The third (possibility) is a purely social explanation. Perhaps children who are breastfed get cuddled more, and this confers some sort of advantage to them as well."

The data was taken from 12,000 babies born in the UK between 2000 and 2002 who were tested at 9 months and then again at 5 years for tests that measured their vocabulary, reasoning and spatial skills.

The data showed that those children who were breastfed were a few months ahead of their bottle fed peers.

Bottom line? Give your kids a head start and breastfeed as long as you can.

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