Breastfeed Now, Harvard Later: Babies Who Are Breastfed Score Higher on Intelligence Tests Later In Life

Is there anything breasts can’t do? Yet another study suggests that no baby formula can compete with the stuff your boobs make.

The latest research, published on Tuesday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, has found that babies who are breast-fed score higher on intelligence tests later in life. After looking at more than 1,300 mothers and their babies, the researchers concluded that each additional month of breast-feeding correlates with a 0.3 point increase in IQ by age three and a 0.5 point increase by age seven — even after adjusting for factors like parents’ own intelligence, income and education.

The study comes on top of recent research showing that breastfed babies have a lower risk of infant problems like ear infections and diarrhea as well as grown-up ones like obesity and diabetes.

"We should do whatever we can do to help women carry out their decision to breastfeed," said the study’s lead author, Dr. Mandy Belfort, a neonatologist at Boston Children's Hospital.

Moms across the country are getting the message: Three out of four moms now start out breastfeeding, and nearly 50 percent are still breastfeeding their babies at six months— up from just 35 percent in 2000. 

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