For the 1,000th Time Breastfed Babies Are Smarter: Now Can We Please Get Some Support?

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breastfeedingHey guess what? Science is here to tell you something you've already been told a hundred bajillion times: Breastfed babies are smarter than formula-fed babies. Yet another study has gone and proven that babies who drank from the font of mama bountiful during their first months of life scored higher on intelligence tests later on. How much higher? For every month the babies were breastfed, they got a 0.3 point advantage by age 3, and a 0.5 point advantage by age 7.

The study included 1,300 babies and controlled for all other factors, like the parents' intelligence and income. So great. Is this just another study designed to make moms who can't breastfeed feel guilty? That was my first thought -- what about all the women I know who tried, but just couldn't produce enough milk? But forget the guilt trip for a minute. Here's who I think could really use this study.

I think it could be most helpful to new moms who want to breastfeed -- even after they return to work. The study's lead author, Dr. Mandy Belfort, says, "I can understand as well as anyone the challenges of continuing to breastfeed once a mom goes back to work. I think our findings definitely support an investment in helping moms breastfeed their babies." By the way, Dr. Belfort is a mother of three kids.

So this isn't about guilting moms who can't or won't breastfeed. This is about giving moms who can and want to breastfeed more support. If you want to keep breastfeeding after you return to work, you've got one more study in your corner supporting your decision -- and also nudging companies to do the right thing.

By now, I think just about every mid-sized to large company with offices provides some sort of accommodation for nursing moms. And that's a great victory. But that's not where we all work. What about moms who wait tables or work in fast food? Moms who clean those offices? Those are the moms who need the most support. They're the ones who need more affordable breast pumps and more understanding employers. I don't know how much this study will help those women. I guess it all depends on who is really listening.

Do you think these studies linking breastfeeding to intelligence help moms?

 

Image via Daniel Lobo/Flickr

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Melis... Melissa1508

Not at all.  It's just another way to try to make moms feel guilty in some way.  I was formula-fed and I have two degrees...my cousin was breastfed and she's a fucking idiot.  So who's to say?

nonmember avatar blue

No, I don't. In all these studies, they have something else in common. The mothers are already educated. They already come from good income brackets and places in society. (The majority, at least.) Those mothers will ALREADY have more intelligent children. Mothers who don't breastfeed and come from the same advantages, will have children of the same intelligence. Why do you ignore all the studies proving this? I wish I wasn't mobile right now, so I could link to all of them.

CrazyAZ CrazyAZ

Melissa 1508: Anecdotes are one way of finding truths. Another way is clinical studies.


And yes, I think this will help bring more support for breastfeeding moms. It also will make some feel more guilty but we ALL feel guilty about something so that won't change anything really. The benefits outweigh the increased guilt for formula-feeders. Besides, just because a science-based fact makes someone feel guilty does not mean we should ignore it.

MamaT... MamaTo2b2g

Nope. Just another pointless way to fan the mommy war flames with untrue nonsense.

Caera Caera

Breastfeed all you want...just not where I'm eating. And not without a cover.

momofcfk momofcfk

This is total BULLSHIT! My sons IQ is 135 and he never breastfeed so quit lying to people about stupid shit!

nonmember avatar Beali

With a title like that, it just seems like you want drama on your post huh?

kelti... kelticmom

Hmmm, my son will be five at the end of this month, and he is reading on a fourth grade level, can do simple addition and subtraction, has an incredible vocabulary and manners, etc ......and guess what? He was formula fed!  My dad is a retired principal and has worked with him since he was 18 months old. Stop pouring kerosene on the "Mommy Wars". Enough already! And no one is keeping nursing mothers from nursing. You just can't whip out a whole boob in public without there being some consequences. Discretion is the word of the day.

momofcfk momofcfk

Agree kelticmom!!!

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

Yes! I do think they help. Knowing all the benefits is the sole reason I tried when I didn't want to. Hearing studies like this help make it worth it and reassure my decision to nurse for a minimum of two years. I have fought for this, I literally have scars on my nipples from the first few weeks of hell. I LOVE hearing benefits and am proud my child has never had a drop of formula.

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