Breastfeeding and later educational outcomes

January 01, 0001

Breastfeeding and later educational outcomes

Breastfeeding is known to have multiple benefits for both mother and child. These Australian researchers examined whether there was a link between the duration of breastfeeding and later educational outcomes. The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study enrolled a cohort women at 18 weeks' gestation. Children from this cohort were followed prospectively, with 1038 out of 2868 having data at 10 years. Breastfeeding data was linked with educational outcomes by using linear models adjusted for gender, family income, and other factors.

The researchers found: "Ten-year-old children who were predominantly breastfed for 6 months or longer in infancy had higher academic scores than children who were breastfed for less than 6 months. The effect of breastfeeding on educational outcomes differed according to gender; boys were particularly responsive (in mathematics, spelling, reading, and writing) to a longer duration of breastfeeding."

The researchers concluded: "Predominant breastfeeding for 6 months or longer was positively associated with academic achievement in children at 10 years of age. However, the effectiveness of breastfeeding differed according to gender. The benefits were only evident for boys."

These data suggest breastfeeding may be linked with improved educational outcomes in boys.

For the full abstract, click here.

Pediatrics 127(1):e137-e145, January 2011
© 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics
Breastfeeding Duration and Academic Achievement at 10 Years. Wendy H. Oddy, Jianghong Li, Andrew J. O. Whitehouse, Stephen R. Zubrick, Eva Malacova.

Category: T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional. Keywords: breastfeeding, academic performance, gender, reading, mathematics, cohort, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 15 March 2011

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