Breastfed Kids Have Higher IQs, Earn Better As Adults, Finds Brazilian Study

A study originated in Brazil has reaffirmed that breastfeeding is vital to the child’s development. Breastfed children have better IQs, remain in school longer, land better jobs and earn handsomely too, pointed out the study. The study even offered a few tips about optimizing breastfeeding routines to maximize the chances of ensuring your child becomes a success story.

While it may be a little irrelevant for modern mothers who keep themselves, ahem, abreast with knowledge about what’s good for their babies, they study has nonetheless reiterated the importance of breastfeeding tomorrow’s world citizens. Published in The Lancet, the Brazilian study strongly suggested just how important the mothers’ milk is for the long-term development of children.

The study painstakingly tracked a group of more than 5,000 mothers with babies born in 1982 in Pelotas, a medium-sized city in southern Brazil. Their breastfeeding regimens were carefully recorded and the same mothers were tracked diligently over the next 30 years. 3,493 of those babies were available as adults for a concluding set of examinations.

The study found out that the babies who were breastfed for anywhere between six months to 11.9 months, had the best mental development and were overall the highest achievers. These breastfed geniuses had a mean IQ of 101.3 points, compared with 96.4 for those who were breastfed for less than one month or not at all.

Apart from intelligence, the six-to-11.9 month group also had a mean of 12.1 years of schooling, compared with 10.9 years in the group that was fed or remained unfed. Additionally, the breastfed group had a monthly income of 1,915 reais ($588), compared with 1,238 ($380) for the non-breastfed group.

To ensure the study was as comprehensive as possible, the researchers took into account a number of factors, such as maternal health and family income. However, the scientists do admit that it was rare for a Brazilian kid to be fed exclusively. Meaning, the mothers might not have recalled accurately if the kid they breastfed was the one that turned out to be a genius of the family.

Nonetheless, researchers have been able to positively conclude that alongside short-term benefits—like reducing child mortality and infectious diseases—breastfeeding also seems to offer long term financial benefits for the kid who had the fortune of suckling at his or her mother’s bosom.

Having the study done in Brazil has its own merits. The study was the first to examine a population that was not already privileged, because in higher-income countries breastfeeding is more likely to be associated with greater wealth than in a lower-income country like Brazil, explained Bernardo Lessa Horta, one of the study’s coordinators.

[Image Credit | Idaho Dept. of Health And Welfare]