Breastfeeding for Longer Periods Said to Increase IQ
Babies Nursed for More Than 3 Months Get Benefit By Peggy Peck
WebMD Medical News
Aug. 30, 2001 -- If milk does a body good, breast milk makes a baby smart.
That's the conclusion of a study of 345 Scandinavian children and their
mothers. Babies who were breastfed for more than six months scored higher on
intelligence tests given at 13 months and again at age 5 than babies breastfed
for less than three months.
Breast milk is already credited with the ability to boost a baby's developing
immune system, protect babies from infections, and reduce the risk for diseases
like diabetes. Because breast milk is easier on the baby's digestive tract than
packaged formulas, breastfed babies are also less likely to be colicky.
Norwegian pediatrician Thorstein Vik, MD, PhD, says that he thinks "essential
fatty acids and growth factors" contained in human milk may explain the IQ
advantage he found in his study. Vik is with the department of community
medicine at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim,