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Will breastfeeding make my baby more intelligent?

January 31, 2024

Will breastfeeding for longer make my baby more intelligent? A study has shown that babies who are breastfed for at least a year were 38% more likely to achieve high passes in their GCSEs.

A baby fed on breast milk for an extended period may contribute to improved academic performance among children, according to a recent study. 

The research, involved nearly 5,000 children in England. It discovered that those breastfed for at least a year were 38% more likely to achieve high passes, equivalent to A or A* grades, in their English GCSE exams. This was compared to those who were not breastfed. Additionally, these children had a 39 percent higher chance of obtaining the same top grade in their Maths GCSE exams. 

Experts believe that breast milk’s essential polyunsaturated fatty acids play a role in enhancing brain development. The study considered various factors, such as socioeconomic status, parental education, and maternal intelligence, and found a significant link between breastfeeding duration and exam results. 

Although the difference observed in exam outcomes associated with breastfeeding was modest, it highlights another potential benefit of babies fed on breast milk. The researchers emphasise that breastfeeding should be encouraged where possible. Mothers who are unable to breastfeed should not feel guilty or concerned about their child’s academic achievements, as the disparities in exam results were not substantial. 

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, examined children born between 2000 and 2002 as part of the Millennium Cohort Study. It concluded that breastfeeding for at least a year lowered the likelihood of failing the English GCSE exam. The longer breastfeeding durations were associated with higher total GCSE scores.

Read more about breastfeeding here.

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