Breast Feeding

Breast-fed babies ‘grow up happier’

New research suggests that babies who are breastfed are more likely to grow into happier children. According to a study conducted by scientists in Australia, infants who are fed their mother’s milk for at least six months experience significantly better mental health compared to those who are given formula feeds. Not only that, but breastfed babies are also less likely to exhibit issues such as anti-social behavior and delinquency.

The researchers believe that breast milk plays a crucial role in the brain development of children during their first year. As a result, experts are urging women to breastfeed for longer than six months. It is advised by the government for women to breastfeed for at least that amount of time to provide the necessary nutrients for a child’s growth. However, it is concerning that Britain has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe, with a third of women stopping within six weeks of giving birth.

The study involved tracking the development of 2,500 children in Australia over a span of 16 years. The team from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth analyzed the children for mental and behavioral problems at various ages. The findings revealed that children who were breastfed for less than six months were 55% more likely to have mental health problems by the age of six compared to those breastfed for longer periods. By the age of ten, this percentage decreased to 37%. Additionally, children who were not breastfed for six months or more were 61% more likely to display issues such as anti-social behavior by the age of eight.

Dr. Wendy Oddy, who led the study, suggests that there may be bioactive factors in breast milk that contribute to better-adjusted children. Even after considering other factors such as the parents’ socio-economic situation, education, happiness, and family functioning, the researchers found that children breastfed for at least six months have a lower risk of mental health problems. Dr. Oddy also noted that breastfed children have lower rates of delinquent, aggressive, and anti-social behavior, and overall are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, or withdrawal later in life.

Rosie Dodds from the National Childbirth Trust supports the call for society to be more welcoming of a woman’s right to breastfeed in public places. It is worth mentioning that other studies have shown that breast milk also provides protection against stomach bugs, chest infections, asthma, eczema, and allergies.

While previous beliefs suggested that breastfeeding could boost a child’s IQ, a recent study concluded that it is the intelligence of the mother, rather than her milk, that influences this trend.

Additionally breast milk is free, always available and always the right temperature. What more convenience would you want while having a baby. No sterilization, prepping, warming – just pop it in and go!!


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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