BREAST IS BEST; Research Shows Breast-Feeding Could Boost Intelligence in Adulthood

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Byline: Moira Sharkey

BABIES breast-fed for longer may be more intelligent as adults, according to new research.

Scientists who found the link said it could be due to nutrients in breast milk stimulating brain development, or because the child could benefit from closer physical contact with its mother. The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analysed data on a total of 3,253 Danish babies born between 1959 and 1961, recording how they were fed as babies and their IQs as adults.

The results showed that those breastfed for less than a month had an average IQ of 99.4 as adults, close to the 100 average for the population as a whole.

Those breast-fed for two to three months had IQs averaging 101.7, while those breast-fed for seven to nine months scored highest with 106.

However, according to the new research children who are breast-fed for longer than nine months had no further benefit. Their IQ dropped to 104.0. Helen Rogers, of the Royal College of Midwives in Cardiff, said: ``I don't think this research will come as a surprise in one sense as many of us have known for quite a considerable time of the benefits of breast feeding. …