The Benefits of Breast-Feeding

According to a study published Monday in the journal, Pediatrics, breast-feeding infants for at least six months after birth, gives them an academic advantage which is manifested later on in life.

This research is not the only which has provided similar results. For instance, researchers from the University of Western Australia followed 2,868 children since the early ’90s. Their studies showed that, at age 10, boys that were breast-feed for at least six months scored higher in reading, spelling and math; compared with boys breast-fed for less than six months.

The reason for these strange discoveries is probably because breast milk is rich in long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids, critical to the development of the brain.

Why exactly boys showed the largest gains from being breast-fed is not clear; but one idea is that male babies are known to be more vulnerable in infancy than females.

Boys could also benefit more than girls from the mother-child relationship facilitated by the act of breast-feeding.

Breast-feeding presents other benefits as well. For example, children who are breast-fed have greater protection from viruses and a lower risk of developing asthma, allergies, obesity and diabetes. Public health experts urge new mothers to nurse their babies for the first six months of life exclusively.

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