Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breastfeeding duration appears associated with intelligence later in life

Date:
July 29, 2013
Source:
American Medical Association (AMA)
Summary:
Breastfeeding longer is associated with better receptive language at 3 years of age and verbal and nonverbal intelligence at age 7 years, according to a new study.

Breastfeeding longer is associated with better receptive language at 3 years of age and verbal and nonverbal intelligence at age 7 years.
Credit: Ermolaev Alexandr / Fotolia

Breastfeeding longer is associated with better receptive language at 3 years of age and verbal and nonverbal intelligence at age 7 years, according to a study published by JAMA Pediatrics, a JAMA Network publication.

Evidence supports the relationship between breastfeeding and health benefits in infancy, but the extent to which breastfeeding leads to better cognitive development is less certain, according to the study background.

Mandy B. Belfort, M.D., M.P.H., of Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues examined the relationships of breastfeeding duration and exclusivity with child cognition at ages 3 and 7 years. They also studied the extent to which maternal fish intake during lactation affected associations of infant feeding and later cognition. Researchers used assessment tests to measure cognition.

"Longer breastfeeding duration was associated with higher Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test score at age 3 years (0.21; 95% CI, 0.03-0.38 points per month breastfed) and with higher intelligence on the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test at age 7 years (0.35; 0.16-0.53 verbal points per month breastfed; and 0.29; 0.05-0.54 nonverbal points per month breastfed)," according to the study results. However, the study also noted that breastfeeding duration was not associated with Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning scores.

As for fish intake (less than 2 servings per week vs. greater than or equal to 2 servings), the relationship between breastfeeding duration and the Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities at 3 years of age appeared to be stronger in children of women with higher vs. lower fish intake, although this finding was not statistically significant, the results also indicate.

"In summary, our results support a causal relationship of breastfeeding in infancy with receptive language at age 3 and with verbal and nonverbal IQ at school age. These findings support national and international recommendations to promote exclusive breastfeeding through age 6 months and continuation of breastfeeding through at least age 1 year," the authors conclude.

Breastfeeding and Cognition: Can IQ Tip the Scale?

In an editorial, Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H., of the Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, writes: "The authors reported an IQ benefit at age 7 years from breastfeeding of 0.35 points per month on the verbal scale and 0.29 points per month on the nonverbal one. Put another way, breastfeeding an infant for the first year of life would be expected to increase his or her IQ by about four points or one-third of a standard deviation."

"However, the problem currently is not so much that most women do not initiate breastfeeding, it is that they do not sustain it. In the United States about 70 percent of women overall initiate breastfeeding, although only 50 percent of African American women do. However, by six months, only 35 percent and 20 percent, respectively, are still breastfeeding," Christakis continues.

"Furthermore, workplaces need to provide opportunities and spaces for mothers to use them. Fourth, breastfeeding in public should be destigmatized. Clever social media campaigns and high-quality public service announcements might help with that. As with lead, some of these actions may require legislative action either at the federal or state level. Let's allow our children's cognitive function be the force that tilts the scale, and let's get on with it," Christakis concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Medical Association (AMA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Mandy B. Belfort et al. Infant Feeding and Childhood Cognition at Ages 3 and 7 YearsEffects of Breastfeeding Duration and Exclusivity. JAMA Pediatrics, 2013 DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.455
  2. Dimitri A. Christakis. Breastfeeding and CognitionCan IQ Tip the Scale? JAMA Pediatrics, 2013 DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.470

Cite This Page:

American Medical Association (AMA). "Breastfeeding duration appears associated with intelligence later in life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729231601.htm>.
American Medical Association (AMA). (2013, July 29). Breastfeeding duration appears associated with intelligence later in life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729231601.htm
American Medical Association (AMA). "Breastfeeding duration appears associated with intelligence later in life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729231601.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins