Breastfeeding could make
boys more intelligent
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London, (IANS) Breastfeeding your
baby could help him achieve academic success by 10 years, says a new study.
It may help children, particularly boys, achieve higher scores at schools,
research has shown.
Researchers found that children who were predominantly breastfed for six months
did better in mathematics, reading, writing and spelling. The effect was
strongest in boys, reports the journal Paediatrics.
It is thought that the bonding between mother and baby fostered during
breastfeeding may mean mothers are more attentive and supportive of their
children, according to the Telegraph.
Boys are more responsive to maternal attention when learning which could explain
why breastfeeding had a greater effect on them, the researchers said.
The authors, from University of Western Australia, also suggested that there may
be substances in breastmilk that help the brain develop.
This effect may be more pronounced in boys because they lack the female hormones
which are known to protect the brain.
Women in Britain are recommended to exclusively breastfeed for six months but
many drop it within the first month saying they lacked support when they had
The study said: 'By looking at boys and girls independently, we found that
predominant breastfeeding for six months or longer was significantly associated
with increased mathematics, reading, writing, and spelling scores for boys.'
Just over 1,000 children were involved in the study and were followed from when
their mothers were 18 weeks pregnant until they reached age 10 when they were
assessed using standard mathematics, reading, writing and spelling scores.
Wendy Oddy, from the Centre for Child Health Research at University of Western
Australia, who led the study, wrote: 'The positive effect of predominant
breastfeeding for six months or longer on academic achievement can be viewed as
shifting the mean population score upward, particularly for boys.'
Read the full article from Sify