A British study, adding to the reams of evidence in favour of breastfeeding, indicates that babies who are breastfed for four months or more, exhibit fewer behavioural problems, by the age of five, than their bottle-fed counterparts.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Universities of Oxford, Essex, York and University College London, took data collected through the Millennium Cohort Study. Researchers analysed the survey responses from parents of 10,037 babies born between 2000 and 2001, to see if they could find a correlation between breastfeeding and behaviour, at the age of five.
The data showed that six percent of the breastfed group showed indications of behavioural problems, while 16 percent of the formula-fed group scored in the trouble zone.
The data had to be adjusted, however, to take into consideration the tendencies for mothers who breastfeed to be older, better educated and of higher socio-economic circumstances. They concluded that the risk of behavioural problems increases by 30 percent for bottle-fed children.
Researchers wanted to make it clear that the behavioural problems did not tend to be drastic. “We’re not necessarily talking about tearaway, unmanageable five-year-old kids,” says research leader Maria Quigley of Oxford University.
“It might be unusual anxiousness, restlessness, inability to socialise with other children or play fully in groups.”
This study adds to the mountain of evidence in favour of breastfeeding. “Mothers who want to breastfeed should be given all the support they need.” Quigley says. – Jen R, Staff Writer.
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