Breast-fed Children Not Necessarily Smarter, Study Finds

Researchers in Dublin set out to find if breast-feeding is linked to childrens’ intelligence.

Breast-fed kids performed slightly higher in tests of intelligence, but the difference is negligible, according to the Journal of Pediatrics study.

They tested 8,000 Irish children at the ages of three and five. They also found that at age three, the breast-fed kids were a bit less hyperactive, though that evened out by age five.

“[The difference] wasn’t big enough to show statistical significance,” says study author Lisa-Christine Girard, a child development researcher at University College Dublin, via NPR.org. “We weren’t able to find a direct causal link between breast-feeding and children’s cognitive outcomes.”

Due to the numerous and eclectic factors that influence intelligence, she says, the reserarchers’ “findings are not overly surprising.”

“For example, mothers who breast-feed typically have higher levels of education,” said Girard. “How many books are in the home; how much time is spent reading?”

This study is just one of many, as researchers continue to probe the effects of breastfeeding.

“This has been a debate for over 100 years, and we’re working hard to understand the complete picture,” said Girard.

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