Can breastfeeding your child now protect them against behavioral problems in the future? Maybe, according to a new study published in Breastfeeding Magazine.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University studied children six to 12 years of age at Schneider's Children Medical Center in Israel. The children were split into three groups: those already diagnosed with ADHD; siblings of children diagnosed with ADHD; and a control group of children without ADHD.
The results? The children with ADHD were far less likely to be breastfed during their first months of life than those in the other two groups. Only 43 percent of children with ADHD were breastfed at three months of age, compared to 73 percent of the control group.
Parents and physicians have long debated whether or not breastfeeding is necessary. However, researchers have discovered several serious health benefits to breastfeeding.
Breastfed children are less likely to become obese adults, according to Nisha I. Parikh, M.D., M.P.H., a cardiovascular fellow at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass.
"Having been breastfed in infancy is associated with a lower average body mass index (BMI) and a higher average HDL (high-density lipoprotein or "good" cholesterol) level in adulthood, even after accounting for personal and maternal demographic and CVD risk factors that could influence the results," Dr. Parikh told Pregnancy & Baby.
People will normal BMIs and higher than average HDL levels are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Parikh
The U.S. Department of Human Service's Office of Women's Health reports that women who breastfed transfer colostrum onto their children. The antibodies and nutrition in colostrum decreases a baby's chances of developing asthma, type 2 diabetes and lower respiratory infections.
"Some research shows that breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of Type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and atopic dermatitis (a type of skin rash) in babies," reports the OWH.
Breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce sudden infant death syndrome.
A study of 468 non-smoking mothers published in the May 2011 issue of the European Journal of Pediatrics found that breastfed babies had higher IQs the longer they were breastfed.
According to the study, babies who were breastfed for three months had, on average, 2.1 more IQ points than bottle-fed infants. Babies breastfed for four to six months showed IQs 2.6 points higher, while those breastfed for more than six months had IQs 3.8 points higher.
Tell us: How else is breastfeeding beneficial to babies?
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