Breastfeeding and Intelligence Scores: Nursing For Higher IQ

Spending quality time with your child can also foster health development. Photo by Taxiarchos228.

Spending quality time with your child can also foster health development. Photo by Taxiarchos228.

Could breastfeeding longer increase your child’s IQ?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Breastfeeding Report Card, breastfeeding initiation increased from 74.6 percent in 2008 to 76.9 percent in 2009.

And those still breastfeeding at six months increased from 44.3 percent in 2008 to 47.2 percent in 2009.

Those who were breastfeeding at 12 months increased from 23.8 percent to 25.5 percent.

The increase in initial breastfeeding and continuing to breastfeed is good news since there are so many benefits to breastfeeding, but now there is another reason… Breastfeeding may make your kids smarter.

Breastfeeding and IQ: The Study

A team of researchers led by Mandy B. Belfort, M.D., M.P.H., of Boston Children’s Hospital examined the relationship of breastfeeding duration and exclusivity with the child’s cognition at ages three and seven years old.

To determine cognition levels, researchers used different assessment tests; the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test. Researchers found that the longer the mother breastfed, the higher score the children scored on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test at the age of three, as well as the Kaufman Intelligence Test at the age of seven. To gain a better understand of the study, Decoded Science had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Belfort.

Interview with Dr. Mandy Belfort

Decoded Science asked Dr. Belfort what recommendations she would give to pregnant women and those with infants regarding breast feeding and she responded,

“For women who are able to breast feed, from the perspective of optimizing their baby’s intelligence, our results support current recommendations by the AAP for exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and then continued breastfeeding through 1 year of age.”

Decoded Science asked Dr. Belfort to explain how the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test worked, as well as the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test and Dr. Belfort explained,

“The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test measures receptive language, which is how well a child understands language. That measure is closely related to the child’s intelligence as measured with standard tests (such as the WISC). The Kaufman is a standard intelligence test that measures verbal and non-verbal intelligence. Verbal intelligence tests require the use of language (reading, writing, speaking/listening) whereas non-verbal intelligence do not. Non-verbal intelligence is important for performing tasks and problem solving.”

Decoded Science also asked Dr. Belfort for anything she would like to explain to our readers and she said,

“There are some women who are unable to breast feed, or choose not to for any number of reasons. It is important for everyone to realize that besides breastfeeding, parents can do many things to promote their baby’s development. Some of the most important ones are turning off the TV, and talking, reading, and playing with their baby.”

Click to Read Page Two: Increasing Baby’s IQ – What Do Others Think?

© Copyright 2013 Janelle Vaesa, MPH, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
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