A new study published by British researchers suggests breastfeeding may help protect babies against age-related cognitive decline.
The study, reported by one of the British Medical Journal’s editorials, examined data from more than 1,800 women in the same age group, who took cognitive tests, when they were between 6 and 16 months old.
The scientists at the University of Edinburgh found that mothers who were breastfeeding at the start of the study had “significantly reduced” rates of cognitive decline at age 12.
That’s the equivalent of doing 20,000 fewer tests, according to the Post’s Katherine Feser. If this theory is true and falls in line with previous research, infant formula might come with more benefits for infants, said Feser.
According to WTOP, adding breastfeeding to the nutrition of babies who are in the room with a feeding bottle could lead to faster development.
The study also confirmed earlier research that found babies who were breastfed tend to be weaned sooner in the afternoons. The researchers also learned that breastfeeding was important in foetal development, leaving infants with “[a] shortened, less efficient” gut, according to the Washington Post.
The National Institutes of Health, Columbia University Medical Center, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the National Women’s Health Information Center assisted in the study.
How breastfeeding affects postpartum recovery
New parents might find it easier to breastfeed, thanks to research by nutrition experts at Duke University.
The study, published on Tuesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that breastfed babies fare better when they are discharged from the hospital for ease of nursing transition.
Milk is rich in antibodies that fights off infection and even addresses postpartum depression, explained the authors.
For new moms, the food provides necessary calories for newborns, and the formula provides nourishment after the difficult labor process that involves strong breast milk needed to deliver a newborn.
Learning that breastfeeding isn’t just a baby thing, but that the benefits extend to a child’s entire life has the power to shift the attitude of anyone who struggles to breastfeed.