Want your child to attend an Ivy League college?
Breast-feed them and they just might be able to.
A new study, published in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, showed that children who experienced long-term, exclusive breast-feeding scored higher on intelligence tests than children who were given formula instead.
The study was led by Dr. Michael S. Kramer of McGill University and the Montreal Children’s Hospital in Montreal, Quebec.
The tests measured verbal intelligence, non-verbal intelligence and overall intelligence. Teachers also said the children who had been breast-fed did significantly better in reading and writing.
According to the study, essential long-chain fatty acids and a compound known as insulin-like growth factor I, which is found in breast milk, could be responsible for the cognitive differences.
It is also possible that the physical or emotional component breast-feeding offers could positively affect brain development.
“Although breastfeeding initiation rates have increased substantially during the last 30 years, much less progress has been achieved in increasing the exclusivity and duration of breast-feeding,” the authors wrote.
“The consistency of our findings based on a randomized trial with those reported in previous observational studies should prove helpful in encouraging further public health efforts to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.”