The health benefits of breastfeeding, both for the mother and the baby, have been recorded and documented in numerous studies. For almost a century, various research have studied the relationship which exists or not, in the long run, between the Act of breast-feeding and the development of cognitive abilities and behavior of children. The latest study on the subject, published in the journal Pediatrics and conducted by researchers at the University College of Dublin, has found that while the benefit attributed to breastfeeding at the cognitive level is observed in the short term, it’s not significant after a certain age.
At the age of three, children fed exclusively with breast milk for more than six months were more easily in the resolution of problems, and lower rates of hyperactivity
To carry out this research, the scientists counted with nearly 7,500 children born at term between December 2007 and may 2008 belonging to the program Growing Up in Ireland. All them are tracked from nine months of age, which had three years and five years after the two assessment points. Three years data parents troop in a questionnaire, in which aspects were valued as the vocabulary and skills development and behavioural patterns, while at the age of five teachers joined the evaluation of children were taken into account for the assessment.
With data in hand, and after removing the possible confounding factors, Irish researchers found that at the age of three children fed with breast milk, unlike the fed with artificial feeding, showed two relevant aspects: greater ease in solving problems, and less likely to have ADHD. After five years, however, already they did not find any relevant differences between the two.
The new study does not contradict the benefits of breastfeeding
Previous studies had associated for the cognitive development of breastfeeding benefits to two specific types of polyunsaturated fatty acids of long-chain, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid. However, in the new work was not taken into account information relating to whether breast milk had been taken directly from the chest, extracted and offered in a bottle, so to scientists, it is not possible to know if lower rates of hyperactivity at age three were result of skin contact with the skin, or because of these nutrients from breast milk. In that sense, they consider that this should be an important fact to keep in mind in future studies examining the benefits breastfeeding behavior.
The authors of the study are clear in their findings that these new findings do not contradict in any case the many benefits for health that breastfeeding offers, both for mother and child, and that have already been demonstrated in numerous researches and scientific studies and medical.