NUTRITION CORNER: Breastfeeding and its effect on academic success

Children who are mainly breastfed for the first six months (or longer) score considerably higher academically at 10 years of age, especially boys, according to a study.

The study, “Breastfeeding Duration and Academic Achievement at 10 Years,” was published in the January 2011 issue of Pediatrics. A total of 2,868 children born in Australia from 1989-1992 were respondents of the study.

After adjusting for gender, family income, and how often the child was read to, academic data was collected for 1,038 eligible children at 10 years of age.

Boys were found to have improved academic scores in math, reading and spelling if they were breastfed for six months or longer.

There was a small but insignificant benefit for reading in girls. Study authors suggest that breastfeeding duration is independently associated with better learning outcomes in middle childhood, especially for boys, and mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed for six months or longer.#