A new study published in JAMA pediatrics shows that longer breastfed children are associated with better language skills at age 3 and better verbal and nonverbal intelligence at 7 years old via a report on Reuters. The study was led by Dr. Mandy Belfort and conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital by recruiting 1,312 mothers and children from April 2009 to June 2012 while following the children till the age of 7 according to CBS.
This study adds to the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups for exclusive breastfeeding up to six months followed mixing solid and breastfeeding for at least one year.
The study did not test for motor skills or memory. It did considered other variables that are attributed to a child’s intelligence such as the mother’s intelligence and the child’s home environment to arrive at the conclusion that breastfeeding for a longer period helps with a child’s intelligence.
Breast-feeding offers protection from illness to babies and has been associated with lower rates of ear infections, stomach viruses, respiratory infections, atopic dermatis, asthma, obesity, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, a gastrointestinal disease known as necrotizing enterocolitis and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) according to the Office on Women’s Health at The US Department of Health and Human Services via CBS report. Other studies have shown that women also benefit from breastfeeding as breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was formed in 1991 to act on the Innocenti Declaration of 1990; to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. WABA commemorates the Innocenti Declaration every 1-7 August through what has become to be known as World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). WBW was first celebrated in 1992 and now involves over 170 countries. The event is endorsed by UNICEF, WHO, FAO and IPA.
The Big Latch On is part of the WBW, a day where mothers breastfeed their children at the same time for a specific period of time. The BJU will host the Big Latch On as organized by the Le Leche League Beijing on August 3rd from 10am to 11:30am.
Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks, Flickr