Four weeks of breastfeeding improves babies’ brainpower

Breast milk can have a ‘significant’ effect on a child’s development at school, says a new study.

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If you haven’t managed to breastfeed as long as you’d have liked, the reassuring news is, just four weeks of breast milk can improve a baby’s development, say scientists.

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While it’s long been known that breast milk contains protective antibodies that helps babies fight infections and tummy bugs, its effects on intelligence had yet to be established– until now.

‘While it looked as though breastfeeding did have an impact on cognitive development, no one knew if that was just because the type of mother more likely to breastfeed in the first place was more likely to nurture brighter children, or whether there was a true causal link,’ says Maria Lacovou, one of the authors of the study and a social scientist at the Institute for Social and Economic Research in Essex.‘Breast milk has well-known health benefits and now we can say there are clear benefits for children’s brains as well,’ she adds.

She also pointed out that the study was not intended to make women feel guilty, but that the aim should be to , ‘Start focussing more on those women who do want to breastfeed, try to help them and make it more normal for everyone.’

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How did you get on with breastfeeding? Did you enjoy it or wish you’d been able to keep going for longer? email us at prima.baby@natmags.co.uk

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