There is no doubt that cognitive abilities of a child develop and change over time. Some children start to understand speech, remember things and solve different tasks earlier than others. Why does this happen?
Many experts connect such a fast development of children with breastfeeding. They claim that intelligence of children who are breastfed is higher in comparison with those who are formula-fed.
Could that really be possible? It’s clear that there are many benefits of breastfeeding. But can breastfeeding actually make your kid smarter? Let’s get this straightened out.
The Controversial Studies’ results
There is no single opinion on the influence of breastfeeding to cognitive abilities of children. Some scientists believe that breastfeeding has a strong connection to the cognitive development of infants. This statement was proved by a study of Korean scientists published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science in 2016. The researchers were examining cognitive abilities of children during their first three years. They found out that newborns who were breastfed showed better cognitive development.
On the other hand, there are scientists who are determined that breastfeeding cannot influence the intelligence of a child. For example, a study of British scientists published in the Pediatrics in 2017 shows that although some breastfed children may experience a spurt in cognitive development during first years compared to the children fed with infant formula, by the age of five this difference is not distinguished.
Why Cannot Scientists Come to a Single Conclusion?
Along with breastfeeding, there are other factors that influence cognitive development in children as well. These factors include conditions in which a pregnant woman live, relationships of a child and their father and mother and, of course, genetics.
It is obvious that if a mother sticks to a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, her offspring will have a better health and ability to develop. Alongside with that, if parents encourage cognitive development of a child by reading books or playing games, the baby will have higher intelligence.
The level of education of parents also matters when talking about the development of cognitive abilities of a child. The more educated the parents are, the more knowledge they can provide for their child.
What Are The Benefits of Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding helps to improve the health of a newborn and contributes to better development of different systems. Breast milk contains a lot of nutrients, micro and macro elements that strengthen immunity of a child, stabilize digestion and reduce the risk of different diseases in a newborn and a mother as well.
Breast milk contains special fatty acids called DHA and ARA. These acids have a good impact on the development of the nervous system of children and their brain.
As you can see, scientists are still arguing over whether breastfeeding helps to increase cognitive abilities in babies or not. This effect of breastfeeding on cognitive development of babies requires further research. Anyway, it is proved that breast milk has a lot of other benefits. However, if you choose not to breastfeed, this is okay! As long as you are providing your baby with healthy and loving environment, nutrition and safety, your baby gets everything he needs to grow into a healthy, resilient and intelligent human being. Just do what you think is best for you and your baby.