Children who were breastfed appear to score higher on tests measuring their vocabulary and reasoning skills, according to a study out of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, England.
Researchers studied 12,000 babies born in Britain between 2000 and 2002. When the children reached five years of age they were given tests on their vocabulary, spatial and reasoning skills. Researchers found that children who were breastfed an average of four to six months were a few months ahead of children who were formula fed.
Researchers feel the differences may be due to the essential fatty acids found in breast milk, which is good for cell development and brain growth. They also felt there are differences in hormones and growth factors that are missing in formula, and they even surmise that it is possible that breastfed babies receive more cuddling and that, in itself, may provide some benefits.
This is not the first study to find a link between breastfeeding and higher IQ levels. Breastfeeding also helps a baby’s health and development in other ways including boosting immune functioning.
Source: The Journal of Pediatrics