STUDY 1: Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine found a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing ADHD. These results have been published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine.
DETAILS: Children who were bottle-fed at three months of age were found to be three times more likely to have ADHD than those who were breastfed during the same period. Taking all risk factors into account, researchers found that children with ADHD were far less likely to be breastfed in their first year of life than the children in the other groups. Researchers do not yet know why breastfeeding has an impact on the future development of ADHD; it could be due to the breast milk itself, or the special bond formed between mother and baby during breastfeeding.
STUDY 2: Breastfeeding is good for babies’ brains. Researchers from Brown University used a specialized, baby-friendly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) found that by age 2, babies who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breast milk.
DETAILS: The extra growth was most pronounced in the parts of the brain associated with language, emotional function, and cognition. They are finding the difference is on the order of 20 to 30 percent, comparing the breastfed and the non-breastfed kids.
STUDY 3: A new study has found that babies that are breastfed for longer than six months have significantly better mental health in childhood. Raine Study at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research study found that children who were breastfed for less than six months compared to six months or longer had a 52% increased risk of a mental health problem at 2 years of age, a 55% increased risk at age 6, at age 8 the increased risk was 61% while at age 10 the increased risk was 37%.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Experts concur that breastfeeding can have a protective effect against the development of the disorder, and can be counted as an additional biological advantage for breastfeeding. Breast feed as long as possible.