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Breastfeeding won't boost brainpower

HealthBy Sunday World
Breastfeeding won't boost brainpower

For years women have been hit with claims that 'breast is best', but according to new research that isn't true.

Scientists at Goldsmith's University in London have insisted there isn't a link between being breastfed and intelligence, which contradicts previous studies.

The findings were the result of a look at a group of children between the ages of 18 months and 16, some of whom were fed on their mother's milk and others who received a bottle. Once things like the age of their mums were taken into account, the average IQ of all the kids at the end of the study was 100.

This has led researchers to suggest things like family background are actually the driving force behind intelligence.

"Children - and adults - differ in their cognitive abilities, and it is important to identify factors that give rise to these differences," Dr Sophie von Stumm explained.

"But comparatively small events like breastfeeding are very unlikely to be at the core of something as big and complex as children's differences in IQ.

"Instead, children's IQ differences are better explained by long-term factors, for example... their schooling."

11,582 young people were involved in the research, all born between 1994 and 1996 and undergoing tests nine times, from two until they were 16.

62 per cent of the group were breastfed for an average of four months, with the rest receiving milk from a bottle. They underwent a range of tests during the 14-year period, including some which were conducted over the phone and others online.

Initially, the scientists thought those who were breastfed would have a higher IQ to begin with, but things would then level out. In actual fact, IQ remained the same for both groups throughout.

Dr Sophie von Stumm was keen to point out that, while interesting, the research shouldn't impact how mothers choose to care for their children. While breastfeeding might not boost intelligence, it could help strengthen immune systems, while being bottle fed "won't cost your child a chance at a university degree later in life".

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