Just in case you thought there weren’t enough reasons to choose breastfeeding over formula feeding, here’s another reason to breastfeed for longer…
According to a study reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, breastfeeding is linked to fewer behavioural problems in childhood. They found that:
- Babies who are breast-fed for at least four months are less likely to develop major behavior problems in childhood.
- They’re also less likely to lie or steal or to be anxious or hyperactive.
Although there are limitations to the study since it relies on questionaires based on parents’ responses, the data was collected was from more than 10,000 infants born in 2000 and 2001 and the “researchers found that 16 percent of formula-fed children had developed behavior problems by age five, as compared to six percent of children who had been breast-fed.” If you can’t get access to the full publication on the Archives of Disease in Childhood, there are more details about the study on the University of Oxford.
As to exactly why breastfeeding reduces behaviour problems in childhood, researchers can only speculate that it might be due to:
- the presence of certain fatty acids in breastmilk that help brain development
- the close bond between mother and child that breastfeeding allows
- the reduced likelihood of childhood illnesses in breastfed babies
Whatever the reason, the message is clear, “breast is best” and here are more articles on why Mums should breastfeed if they can:
- 15 reasons why breastfeeding benefits babies
- Breastfed babies are smarter
- Breastfeeding is also good for Mum
- Breastfeeding helps new Mums bond with their babies more easily
And if you are pregnant with your first child and would like some tips on breastfeeding, here are 16 breastfeeding tips for first time mothers.
While we’re on the topic, I was rather appalled to read about the change in Evenflo’s ad campaign which is now designed to make mothers feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding and to portray breastfeeding as inconvenient and difficult. Personally, I thought pumping breastmilk was inconvenient and avoided it as much as possible.