Breastfeeding has always been believed to be one of the best ways from a mom to protect her kids from any ailments, as well as providing them with all the nutrients they need. Based on many long term studies, mom’s milk contains the healthiest contents, with all the important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients packed into it. It is no wonder that that a study has recently revealed a link between intelligence and breastfeeding. It is believed that babies who are exclusively breastfed are likely to have higher IQ.
This long term research is taken place in Brazil, and has been dealing with 3,500 babies so far. They are taken from random social classes and economic background. It turns out that those having been breastfed exclusively and, on longer period of time, score higher IQ points when they are tested as adults. Health experts claims that from the current evidence alone, it is simply a fact that babies should get their rights of getting exclusive breastfeeding milk for at least six months – although the results of the study isn’t thoroughly conclusive. However, the option is back again to the moms, whether they want to do it or not.
Facts and Controversies
There are so many things and also controversies going on about breastfeeding. Some moms claim that they can’t produce the needed milk, forcing them to turn to formula. However, another scientific study reveals that only 1 of 10 women really can’t produce milk and it is caused by their special condition or unique genetics. The conclusion is: most women don’t have problems producing milk for their babies; but the fact that whether they are strong willed enough to give their milk to their babies is the one that will determine the result.
Most moms complain that they don’t produce enough milk, so they turn to formula. This is when things go wrong, because most moms don’t get their fact straight. They aren’t supposed to produce abundance of milk at the first time since a new born baby has very small stomach – only a size of a marble – so they can’t really take too much milk. As they grow bigger, their stomach expands and they can take more milk. When moms keep breastfeeding their babies, their milk production will adjust to their babies’ needs and they will end up producing enough milk. Unfortunately, moms who are concerned that ‘they aren’t ‘producing enough milk’ mostly turn to formula, which isn’t helpful to boost the milk production. In the end, formula will obstruct the production of the milk, making these moms left out with not enough milk for their babies’ needs. That’s why it is crucial that moms know the right facts, so they won’t fall into misleading and mistakes.
Now it is found out that not only babies will have better immune system, but they are also likely to have higher IQ – all thanks to the breastfeeding activity, which seems easy and simple, but turns out very complicated and can be depressing for moms who have to go through with it. Health experts still advice that exclusive breastfeeding is given exclusively for six months, and it is mom’s option whether they want to continue it to the next 2 years for the health benefits of their babies.
Of course, intelligence is determined by different and many factors; not only the breastfeeding factor. Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta, the man responsible for the study from Pelotas Federal University in Brazil, claims that he is trying to offer new perspective based on the population he is studying. He is trying another unique insight to prove that breastfeeding is evenly distributed and practiced across social class, so it is not exclusively done by the educated and the rich only. Most of the babies are breastfed, although the length of the time varies, from a month and less to over a year. But babies who have longer breastfeeding have higher intelligence score than those who experience shorter breastfeeding period. Moreover, they are also likely complete schools and other education as well as earning higher wage.
The Long Term Positive Impact
The reason why breastfeeding can lead to higher IQ is believed by Dr Horta to be the result of the long chain of saturated fatty acids (found in the milk) that is very important for the brain development. But still, the research isn’t conclusive enough and further researches are still needed to prove the solid relation between intelligence and breastfeeding.
So far, the many health benefits of breastfeeding for babies have been found and confirmed. Evidences about the relation of breastfeeding with better health have been found – one of which that includes infant gastrointestinal infections or reduced respiratory, claimed National Director of Public Health and Wellbeing England, Kevin Fenton. But then again, it is up to the moms since not all of them are able or even chooses to breastfeed. Some moms need positive and mental supports since they are not all confident about their own condition and ability.
The Chairman at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child’s Health committee, Dr Colin Michie, says that researches concerning connection between breastfeeding and IQ have been conducted for many years, but only the recent study focuses on other factors like educational achievement, income at the age of 30, and also the high size of the samples – making this research a powerful one. Dr. Michie also claims that breastfeeding is only one factor –of many – that contribute to the kid’s outcome, but the study is more about the enhanced and continued promotion of the many benefits of breastfeeding that isn’t only good for the babies, but also for the moms.
From this result, hopefully, many more moms are aware of the health benefits and legacy that they can pass on to their kids, making them more confident of their own ability as well as keeping on fighting to develop better generation. Breastfeeding may not be the only way for them to create healthier and smarter generations, but it is at least providing the very basic and solid foundation.