(STUDY FINDS) – Children who are breastfed for a long period are brighter than those who are not breastfed, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that parents who breastfeed for a longer time have children who perform better in cognitive tests than children whose mothers give them formula instead.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS One, remained constant after the team took the parents’ own cognitive skills into account. Earlier research has found that breastfed babies tend to be cleverer, but scientists were unsure whether the link solely ties into a parent’s breastfeeding choices.
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For the new study, the Oxford team analyzed more than 7,000 children born between 2000 and 2002 and followed them until they were 14. Researchers examined information about the duration of any breastfeeding, the duration of exclusive breastfeeding, verbal cognitive scores at ages five, seven, 11, and 14, and spatial cognitive scores at ages five, seven, and 11. Study authors also measured each mother’s socioeconomic characteristics and cognitive skills using a vocabulary test.