Breastfeeding has had many benefits throughout time, and studies continue to find more reasons why it is best for the mother-child relationship. A recent long-term study that has been taking place in Pelotas, Brazil since 1982, resulted in the conclusion that breastfeeding leads to smarter and richer adults.
Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta, from the Federal University Pelotas in Brazil, came up with the hypothesis because he wanted to know if breastfeeding really led to smarter and richer adults, from the known fact that breastfeeding can increase a child’s IQ. Researchers began to follow Brazilian children in the weaning stage until the age of 30, to help determine whether or not the hypothesis was true.
Horta told the New York Times he chose mothers of all socio-economics ranks to prove that breastfeeding leads to smarter richer adults. Moreover, he said it is a fact that breastfeeding is very beneficial for all mothers to consider, and not just a benefit of mothers with higher class. He also points out that mothers of high class breastfeed longer, and the longer a child is breastfed the smarter he or she is due to the child having a closer bond to its mother.
After three decades, researchers gathered 3500 children they studied in 1982, to engage in interviews and IQ tests to complete the study. Once the results were in it was proven that the children that were breastfed were more intelligent, spent longer time in school, and earned more than the children that were not breastfed. Studies showed that the longer a mother breastfed the more successful the adult turned out to be. For example, one of the children that was studied in Brazil was breastfed for 12 months. Afterwards, his IQ level was four points higher than the average child that was breastfed for a period of 1-6 months. As well, the child also earned about 70-100 dollars more than those that were breastfed for a shorter amount of time.
Scientists are not trying to disparage children that were not breastfed because researchers did not study what home influences occurred or what went on between mother and child during early development. Some recent studies question whether breastfeeding and IQ are linked because having a high IQ can also be a factor of socio-demographic factors, parental lifestyle, and maternal IQ, according to a Dutch researcher. However, breast milk is known to contain lots of nutrients that are beneficial to the brain, causing better neurological development.
A mother’s breast milk is rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that helps brain growth. The World Health Organization recommends for a mother to breastfeed her child for six months.Many mothers breast feed longer than suggested amount of time due to a style of parenting called attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is the ideal way to create a secure attachment between mother and child. It also teaches infants that parents will listen to their cues and fulfill their needs.” Other benefits protects the child from infections.
Breastfeeding will continue to provide more benefits to future children and young adults, as scientists continue to hypothesize what else is helping humanity evolve into better people. This is only the beginning of a period of natural maternal instincts providing the best care to their offspring of simply breastfeeding to lead their young into a smarter and richer adulthood.
By Krystle Mitchell
Photo by Pinikas – Flickr License