Breastfeeding and intelligence

Filed under: Just For Moms, Your Pregnancy, Nutrition: Health

Want to appear smart? It's simple -- breastfeed your baby. Just don't expect that it will make your kid any smarter. There are a lot of benefits that come from breastfeeding, but a higher I.Q. is not one of them. An article in the British Medical Journal seems to indicate this. Based on a study of more than 5,000 American women done in 1979, the authors come to the conclusion that parental intelligence is far more important to a child's intelligence level than is breastfeeding. They determined that breastfed babies tend to be smarter because smarter women tend to breastfeed more.

Some of the comments on the BMJ website, however, raise some issues with the study and the conclusions based on it. For example, the study apparently did not classify children based on how long they were breastfed. Children who were breastfed for only a few days were included with children breastfed for more than a year and, as one commenter pointed out, "since the data are from the US with its iatrogenic societal deficiency in breastfeeding, the latter group is likely to be very small indeed."

My take on this? Don't breastfeed because you think it will make your kids smarter. Breastfeed because it's what's best for them nutritionally and will help protect them from illness. Or do it because it will make you look smarter. Your choice.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.