Intelligence and Breastfeeding

There are many reasons to breastfeed. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity, less diarrhea, otitis media (ear infections), and upper respiratory infections are some of the most frequently cited health protections for babies afforded by breastfeeding. Additionally, some site the emotional bonding experienced by mothers and babies who breastfeed, and less mentioned are the financial cost savings related to not giving formula and the health care savings.

While there are health protections for mothers, and other health protections for babies, such as Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of babies, they are not mentioned as frequently. Today we want to focus on IQ.

A recent publication in the Journal of Human Lactation reviewed research that examined whether exclusive breastfeeding has a true impact on IQ of the baby (Chapman 2013). With quite impressive numbers, researchers found that it did have a clear impact! In fact, while breastfeeding at least some (“any breastfeeding”) has a positive impact on IQ, exclusive breastfeeding had an even greater impact. Researchers found that for moms who breastfed even at all, their 3 year olds had higher scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III), and 7 year olds had higher verbal and nonverbal scores on the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, 2nd Ed. (KBIT-II) (Chapman 2013). The research showed that for moms who exclusively breastfed through 6 months of age, children were predicted to have even higher scores than those who were breastfed some each month (Chapman 2013)! In both groups the higher scores increased for every month the child was breastfed (Chapman 2013).

So what is the lesson? Every little ounce of breastfeeding makes a difference in your child’s intelligence! The longer that you do it, the better. So, keep it up…. even a little counts!


Contact Simply the Breast today to reach your local lactation consultant serving Camarillo, Pt. Mugu, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley, and Westlake Village areas of Ventura County!