Breastfeeding Boosts the Intelligence of Boys

December 23, 2010 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Breastfeeding Boosts the Intelligence of Boys
While there are many reasons for breastfeeding both boys and girls, a new Australian study shows that boys’ brains may get a huge lift in terms of intelligence. The research showed1 that boys 10 years of age who had been breastfed for 6 months or longer scored higher on mathematics, reading, spelling, and writing.

“We know that there are vital nutrients in breast milk that support brain development, particularly in terms of long-chain fatty acids,” said study author Dr. Wendy Oddy, an Associate Professor at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. “Males are also known to be more vulnerable to adversity during critical periods of development than females, therefore the neuro-protective effect of estrodiols, the female hormones, in breast milk, would have greater benefits for boys,” she explained. “A number of studies have found that male babies are more dependent on maternal attention to help develop their cognitive and language skills.”

The combination of a health diet and actively engaged parents sets the early developmental possibility for future intelligence.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Breastfeeding Duration and Academic Achievement at 10 Years  PEDIATRICS  Wendy H. Oddy, PhD, Jianghong Li, PhD, Andrew J. O. Whitehouse, PhD, Stephen R. Zubrick, PhD, Eva Malacova, PhD.

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