Breastfed Babies and Intelligence

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Story Updated: Jul 31, 2013

New research says….

Here's some baby food for thought! A new study suggests the longer a mom breastfeeds, the smarter her child may be.

Researchers in Boston looked at the relationship between duration of breastfeeding and cognitive development at ages 3 and 7.

They analyzed data from more than 13-hundred mothers who nursed their babies for a minimum of six months..,. or up to a year.

The researchers discovered that longer breastfeeding provided an IQ benefit.

At age 3, IQ was about a fifth of a point higher for every month a child was breastfed. At age 7, verbal test scores jumped more than a third of a point for each month breastfed. An advantage was also noted in non-verbal intelligence.

Put another way, according to the study, breastfeeding an infant for a full year of life could increase his or her IQ by about 4 points.

The researchers also looked at whether a mom's fish intake during lactation affected her baby's cognitive development, but the findings were not statistically significant.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com